Fuck You, Regs

Longtime Readers will be familiar ad nauseam with my constant bitching against modern automotive design and how homogeneous the cars of today appear.  While a lot of it is driven by things like “wind-tunnel” performance, I’ve never bothered to talk about exactly why  car makers are so obsessed with streamlining and what have you, because I’d always thought people knew why they’re thus obsessed.

Allow me then, to address this shortcoming by pointing you to this excellent article, a snippet of which reads as follows:

It hasn’t happened all at once. It’s been a bit at a time, taking place over four decades in the name of safety and the environment. The whole thing began in 1966 with creation of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, followed by the Environmental Protection Agency and dozens of others. Every regulator wanted a piece of the car.
Each new regulation seems like it makes sense in some way. Who doesn’t want to be safer and who doesn’t want to save gas?
But these mandates are imposed without any real sense of the cost and benefits, and they come about without a thought as to what they do to the design of a car. And once the regs appear on the books, they never go away.

Truly, this cries out for explanation. So I was happy to see a video made by CNET that gives five reasons: mandates for big fronts to protect pedestrians, mandates that require low tops for fuel economy, a big rear to balance out the big fronts, tiny windows resulting from safety regulations that end up actually making the car less safe, and high belt lines due to the other regs. In other words, single-minded concern for testable “safety” and the environment has wrecked the entire car aesthetic.
And that’s only the beginning. Car and Driver puts this as plainly as can be: “In our hyper-regulated modern world, the government dictates nearly every aspect of car design, from the size and color of the exterior lighting elements to how sharp the creases stamped into sheetmetal can be.”
You are welcome to read an engineer’s account of what it is like to design an American car. Nothing you think, much less dream, really matters. The regulations drive the whole process. He explains that the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards with hundreds of regulations — really a massive central plan — dictate every detail and have utterly ruined the look and feel of American cars.

Here’s my suggestion to the Trump administration:  wherever the so-called “Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards” reside, go in there and take out 75% of them – I don’t care which ones, but I bet a random sample of my Petrolhead Readers would take care of the problem.

Here’s the money shot quote from the article:

No one set out to wreck the diversity and beauty of our cars. But that is precisely what has happened, as the political and bureaucratic elites have asserted their own value systems over the values of both producers and consumers. They are the masters and we are the slaves, and we are to accept our lot in life.

Maybe not.  This is a hill I’d be glad to die on — just for the sake of automotive beauty.  Here’s one example of a car that couldn’t be made in the U.S. today because regs, and we are the poorer for it:

More about Bizzarrini.


The title, by the way, is a play on a line of dialogue from Cheech and Chong’s Big Bambu  album.

Healing Powers

…because nothing says “Government Cares About You” more than a new tax:

Supermarkets are being urged to introduce a new 1p charge to use self-service machines as part of a plan to ‘heal divisions’ blamed on Brexit.
The proposal comes from a cross-party Parliamentary panel on social integration (APPG) which claims £30million could be raised by the scheme to help fund community projects to bring together people from different generations.
But retailers say it would penalise shoppers and effectively be a new tax to use the supermarket.

Read the whole thing to understand what’s going on here.

And do not think for a moment that this couldn’t happen Over Here, because if there’s one thing that’s common to all  governments it’s that when their money runs short, there is no limit to their creativity when it comes to generating new revenue streams.  Even something stupid like a soda tax.

Scum

Somebody explain to me why we should ever — ever — trust the fucking FBI again, when they get involved in this kind of bullshit, trying to entrap a U.S. citizen into committing several federal crimes.

When did they do this?  In 2017:  after Donald Trump’s inauguration as POTUS.

And under whose auspices did they do this?  Why, those of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and DOJ prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, of course.

Why  did they do this?  All in the cause of trying to bring down President Donald Trump and overturn the fully-legal election result of 2016.

So to repeat myself:  somebody explain to me why we should ever — ever — trust the fucking FBI again.  With anything.

Wrong Headline

Here’s a classic case of media slant:

Had They Bet On Nuclear, Not Renewables, Germany & California Would Already Have 100% Clean Power

This is what we non-journalists call “complete bullshit”.  In the first place, neither Germany or California “bet” on anything.  Germany closed all their nukes in a panicked reaction to the Fukishima disaster in Japan, and California deliberately closed their existing nukes and prevented new ones from being built because Californians are a bunch of fucking Green morons (as, by the way, are the Krauts).  There was no “gamble”, because everybody already knew that Green “technology” would be totally incapable of completely filling anybody’s power needs except maybe for the average sub-Saharan African country north of the Limpopo River.  For Germany and California?  Not even close.  And when even Al Gore is calling California foolish…

That said, I’m not taking a potshot at the author of the above piece, because authors seldom write their own headlines — this would probably be the doing of some Forbes   editor, who’s either stupid or purposely slanted.  In fact, given that Michael Schellenberger is TIME Magazine’s “Hero of the Environment,” a Green Book Award Winner, and President of Environmental Progress, the article is remarkably clear-headed and factual — which was clearly A Bridge Too Far for Forbes magazine, which used to be a go-to business publication but has recently become completely irrelevant — and the above should tell you why.

 

When Gummint Fails

…which is to say, almost all of the time, it’s incumbent then for citizens to step in and fix the problem, if they can.  As did a couple folks in the People’s Collective of Oakland, Californistan:

We don’t need to remind Oakland drivers their streets are some of the worst in the country, costing locals an extra $1,049 a year in car maintenance on average.
The problem has prompted two Oakland residents to go rogue, pulling off covert missions to patch potholes in the middle of the night. They’ve dubbed themselves the “Pothole Vigilantes” and show off their work on an Instagram page by the same name.

Needless to say, Gummint isn’t impressed:

When asked about the unauthorized roadwork, Oakland Public Works empathized with the problem at hand, but made it clear that Oakland residents shouldn’t be taking to the streets to themselves.
Said Sean Maher, a spokesperson for the department, “We can’t recommend anyone do this work themselves, not least because it raises safety issues while people are working in the streets.”

Oh yeah, the old “safety” bullshit.  Like hundreds of people hitting deep potholes with their cars every day is a “safer” alternative.  I also like the other part:

Maher made a plea for patience, saying more resources to fix roads are on the way. The city council is set to vote on a $100 million plan to repave streets over the next three years. The money would come from Measure KK, approved by voters in 2016.

Okay, let me just make sure I’ve got the arithmetic right.  The voters approved the necessary spending in 2016.  We are now nearly halfway through 2019 — and the council is only now “set to vote” on the repaving plan?  Uh-huh.  No wonder people are getting impatient.  I wonder what else the OakGov may have been doing over the past couple years, that prevented them from working on the thing any earlier… never mind, I remember now:  Oakland City Hall was busy preventing ICE from rounding up illegal immigrants, making themselves feel all virtuous by defying federal law.  But back to our story:

“They are frustrated and fed up with the pavement condition in their neighborhood,” said Maher.

I bet this guy also works for the Oakland Department Of The Blindingly Obvious.

Iniquitous Theft

I was watching some stupid BBC-TV show about how a titled earl’s mansion was saved from ruin only by royal intervention (Prince Charles and his Prince’s Trust), and how the place was restored to its former glory and was now in essence a museum (said earl having relinquished title to the property many decades ago).

Which house and which earl is not important.  What was not said was why the place had to be abandoned in the first place, which can be summed up in just two words:  inheritance taxes.

Of all instances of government bastardy — and there are thousands — this is the one which gets my goat, because there are two major principles in play, and neither of them is good.

1)  The State decides that your property doesn’t really belong to you, so the gummint takes part of it it away from you (or more properly, from your heirs) after your death and puts it into their coffers.  It’s nothing less than fucking theft, pure and simple.

2)  The principle that “unearned income” — i.e. that your wealth gets passed on to your heirs, who didn’t work for it and therefore it should be treated as a windfall — is a bad thing because it simply perpetuates the wealth inequality of society.  The underlying Marxist lie that underpins this idea is self-explanatory:  that wealth is a finite quantity, and that keeping it in the family prevents others in society from benefiting from it.  (Never mind that history shows that almost all  great fortunes are dissipated within four — and usually three — generations because of multiple heirs, wastage, poor judgement and so on.)

What we also know is that inheritance taxes do not affect the very wealthy much, if at all, because they protect their property by a multitude of (perfectly-legal) tax avoidance schemes.  Instead, the taxes hit the middle classes (and especially family business owners and farmers) hardest of all.

So it’s all very well for HRH the Prince of Wales to come riding in on his faerie chariot and save some great house from ruin, when in fact it was the policies of his (and his forerunners’) government that was the principle cause of that ruin in the first place.

Just so we know the extent of the villainy:  the family was going to be forced to sell off the household effects to help pay the bills.  Which sounds trivial except that the earl was the owner of the largest collection of Chippendale furniture in the world (simply because the fifth earl had seen the first-ever catalog of the Chippendale Brothers furniture company in the 1750s, liked what he saw and bought hundreds of pieces of the stuff for his new country home, and all of which had stayed in the house ever since).  To give you an idea of its worth:  just one large glass-fronted bookcase — now being used to house some of the family’s equally-valuable china — would have fetched at auction around £20 million, and each of the hundreds of Chippendale chairs around £50,000… yes, each.

All the household goods had been packed up in an eighteen-wheeler, and were actually halfway to the auction house in London when the truck was intercepted and turned back to the house.  All very heroic stuff — and all completely unnecessary.

What’s interesting is that here in Murka, where we don’t even have titles and such, the popular antipathy towards inheritance taxes is profound — something like 80% of people polled hate the very idea of it, even though the vast majority of people are unlikely ever to be affected by inheritance taxes.

That’s because we’re not stupid, and we can recognize theft when we see it.  It’s the principle of the matter, and as this nation was founded upon principle, we can recognize its villainy where other countries’ inhabitants might not.


By the way, here’s the Wikipedia entry for Dumfries House.