The Peoples’ Car

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Ever since my rebellious days growing up in the sixties, I’ve striven to conserve to remain independent of my folks and still survive. Owning a car that I could keep running myself was instrumental for this purpose.

Some might label me as a conservative. I don’t accept that because so many self- proclaimed conservatives are extravagant with lives and cash when it comes to propping up the defense (sic) industry.

It is my classical conservatism that made me a Volkswagen fan starting in high school. My second car was a 1967 Beetle, bought brand new. Family subsidized the purchase but much of the cash came from my job at McDonald’s.

(A side note: Morgan Spurlock, who produced “Super Size Me,” has now confessed that the ill health he blamed on his 30-day McDonald’s binge was caused by alcohol addiction.)

I had a choice of a ’67 or a ’68 Bug and I opted for the ’67. The later model had those Ralph Naderesque fat bumpers, high-back seats, and smog devices that turned a slow car into a dog (no offense intended to you dogs out there). Those seats made it seem like an intercom was necessary to communicate front to back. The ’67 was the first year for the 12-volt system, making this the ultimate peoples’ car.

Unfortunately, that Zenith Blue bug, which cost $2,004.44 was destroyed by a Plymouth Roadrunner full of teenagers with 2,004 miles on the odometer. I’ve wanted another one ever since. For some reason, I’ve owned three 1959 Beetles. I once switched the engine in one in less than an hour, in a foot of snow. In researching for the Beetle we just bought, I found the record for the time it took for an engine replacement in a bug is under 7 minutes.

There is a belief that Volkswagen existed at the behest of Adolf Hitler. This is a myth, and a convenient one for people who hate Volkswagen because of what amounts to an act of civil disobedience when they altered the emissions for testing at the EPA. I correlate Volkswagen’s cheating to the sit-ins of the civil rights and anti-war movements of The Sixties. For many years before Hitler, German car companies were striving for a car that could be repaired and serviced by anyone.

The ’67 bug we found didn’t come with the 56-page operator’s manual but I found one on Ebay. In the manual it describes tightening the fan belt (by moving shims from between the pulley halves), adjusting the ignition timing, and adjusting the carburetor. Along with John Muir’s book, “How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive,” a few basic tools could keep one mobile and independent.

It may be called “the peoples’ car,” but mobile and independent is the opposite of a society dedicated to “the people,” as used in today’s political dialog pitting “the people” against the individual.

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Oh Deer

While driving home from Forum Club, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but four tiny hooves, a flash of fur, and $10,000 that won’t be spent to further Iowa’s economy. You have to wonder what goes through the minds of these deer that jump out of nowhere into the path of a speeding car. Are they depressed?

I am. To add to the down time and inconvenience, the insurance company now thinks “cash value” is $5,000 less than what identical models are bringing on the market. I feel scammed.

But the people in Iowa are being scammed to a much larger degree by the state and its protection of the “deer herd.” The most recent record I could find was the year ending in June of 2014. There were 28,710 vehicle-deer collisions. With an average cost of $4,000, that was nearly $115 million taken from productive use (or private investments) by the state government’s deer.

I don’t hate the deer. I love all of God’s creatures. Why, just the other day I stepped out of the shop to make a phone call. I saw Doris’ ears prick up. That Blue Heeler puppy shot into the grove that we had planted 37 years ago and caught a squirrel. We had been enjoying seeing the squirrel last winter, the first one ever since we moved here. It now has babies starving in some nest high up in those trees. I cried.

Did I send a bill to the state government for the damage their deer did to our car? Why bother? The state has no interest in serving its citizens. If they did they would have a bounty on deer, butcher them, and feed them in the state prisons to save money.

In Cedar Rapids there are too many geese. What do you suppose the city plans to do about that? Oil the eggs. Visualize for a moment, city workers crawling around trying to avoid the protective mother geese to paint oil on the shells to abort the unhatched goslings. There’s a lot of meat out there for the taking in a state that sends out checks to help feed the needy.

While these hair-brained schemes like “managing the deer herd” and goose abortion are going on, there are businesses in need of skilled workers. Why the lack of skilled workers? Because education in Iowa is managed by government instead of being free to respond to market conditions. And then I read in the paper that a politician wants to be “Investing in Iowa’s priorities.” I cannot think of a less trustworthy entity to trust with our investments.

There should be no deer season. Landowners should be the ones who decide the fate of the creatures on their property. And if the state wants to help the poor, they should find a way to access surplus resources before issuing checks to be taken to the grocery store.

Syriasly?

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I voted for Donald Trump. No kidding.

As Trump was running for president, he declared U.S. policy in the Middle East to be a disaster. How could I not vote for the guy?

The other candidate declared something else, “We came, we saw, he died.” She was referring to Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, who had dismantled all his weapons of mass destruction according to an agreement made with Western powers in 2003. The result of her execution of Gaddafi is that Libya is now slave market to the world.

It used to be so simple. Conservatives and liberals opposed each other.

The drive for war in Syria is so all-encompassing it boggles the mind. The talk is about what we do about Assad’s (alleged, presumed) gas attack. There is nothing about why in the world that government, who is winning the war, would do such a thing. There is nothing about who would benefit. Whether Assad’s government did it or not is hardly mentioned as our rulers and their media salivate over more military expenditures and more death.

Liberals and conservatives are allied against the producers, the people who long ago threw up their hands in disgust. “Furnish us weapons. Furnish us skilled workers. We want free stuff!” they cry. We are obligated to conduct theft and murder around the world despite the fact that in hindsight, it always seems to make matters worse. The 9/11 attack was retaliation.

What about The Ten Commandments? Isn’t that supposed to be law, or at least a guide to behavior in our Judeo-Christian culture? There are people who think tax dollars are as much a given as the sun coming up in the east. What those tax dollars represent are wages for our servants in government. If our servants commit murder, are we guilty of murder ourselves?

It is shocking to me as I talk to people who are outwardly concerned about social justice, gay wedding cakes, racial or homophobic slurs and such that there is no outcry about the genocide in Yemen that we support for Saudi Arabia or our support for Al-Qaeda (known as moderate Muslims) in Syria. Why are we not a bit appreciative of the Russians and Iranians for defeating ISIS?

The media tries to make things simple in order to maintain the attention of their viewers. In order to do this, a lot of important facts get overlooked. One of those facts is that different segments of Islam hate each other even more than they hate the West. What achievable goal could we have over there?

President Trump’s claim that we have spent $7 trillion in the Middle East since 9/11 looks like a wild guess to me. We destroy. We rebuild. We bribe. Russia just sent “dozens” of diplomats home to America. What do “we” need dozens of diplomats there for anyway? Or anywhere? Doesn’t all this make it seem possible that $7 trillion might even be a low estimate?

We don’t know all the facts. But $100,000 for every five person household in the United States doesn’t need to be spent over there. It needs to be spent here, by the people who earned it, any way they choose.

Tune in to Fox News and listen to Tucker Carlson. My aunt had him as a student in elementary school. She did a good job.

Thou Shalt Not Steal

A few years ago we toured a factory in Cedar Falls that made some really nice pickup campers. They were in the process of building some campers for shipment to Argentina. Just think, they could do that economically enough to offset shipping all the way down there in spite of the general idea that our manufacturers need forced “fair trade” to compete in the world.

One camper they were building was for a Volkswagen Amarok (“wolf” in Inuit). The Amarok has been sold everywhere but in the U.S. for quite awhile. It is about the size of a Toyota Tacoma.

In 2014, a nine-man crew took three Amaroks 9,942 miles from Moscow to Kamchatka to promote the Sochi Winter Olympics. They had long travel shocks, big tires, and some cold weather modifications but otherwise were stock. They used the same engine as we have in our 2015 Sportwagen TDI. They set the Guinness World Record for off-road travel across one country.

There are other examples of small pickups essentially banned from U.S. consumers. The rest of the world has Ford Rangers and the Toyota Hilux. They are built overseas. You’ve probably seen a Hilux on the news in far-off lands. The Hilux is recognizable as the choice of terrorists and third world governments because dependability is important in war.

A couple vans that have become popular for delivery and tradesmen are the Ford Transit Connect and Dodge Sprinter. They are both mostly built overseas. The Dodge is shipped here and then completed with domestic parts. The Ford is built in Turkey with windows and passenger seats. When they arrive in Baltimore the windows are replaced with metal panels and seats are scrapped. Subaru put seats in a pickup bed. All this so they could be called “passenger vehicles.”

Americans have become pretty good at bragging about our freedoms while accepting the lack of it. That these vehicles are either unavailable or overpriced is a perfect example of a small group profiting at the expense of the majority.

In 1963 Europeans complained that U.S. frozen chicken imports were being sold “below the cost of production,” so they imposed tariffs that resulted in a 25% decrease in those imports. Lyndon Johnson saw this as an opportunity to gain favor with union constituents and U.S. manufacturers. A 25% tariff was imposed on European light trucks along with some other products whose tariffs have since been withdrawn. Potato starch and domestic brandy unions aren’t so important so the Chicken Tax remains only on light trucks.

There was hope the Chicken Tax would be phased out with the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. But that idea faded away when the partnership was viewed as too advantageous to our trading partners.

The bottom line is that consumers are always hurt when government steps in to make things “fair.” It might seem like a good deal today, as evidenced by the outrage of agricultural exporters at the recent steel and aluminum tariffs. But as the free market guides business decisions less and less, over production and other forms of malinvestment will eventually make things more expensive for everyone.

Basically, U.S. made pickups have been the most profitable (and overpriced) sector of the auto industry for a reason. The Eighth Commandment addresses that reason but we just tolerate it as the status quo. It is time we demand principled politicians whether it benefits us directly or not because, long term, we would all be better off.

Iowans luck out

The headline I first saw was “Liberal Group Posts Video…”  https://iowastartingline.com/2018/03/12/video-appears-to-show-bill-dix-in-romantic-relationship-with-lobbyist/

Gotta love that liberal group. They exposed, slime-ball Bill Dix smooching with a lobbyist babe in a bar. He is (should be was) married, with kids.

An Iowa attorney called it an abuse of power. Haha. I’d say the lobbyist was abusing HER power. But then…

Anyway, he is so stupid he makes out in public with this gal, he proves he can’t abide by, what should be THE most important contract a man can make.

My fondest wish would be that everybody in the statehouse gets found out so no one is there to redistribute our earnings to their favored Charities (bosses). Look at the rest areas and there is the tip of the iceberg. The one between Des Moines and Council Bluffs has these soil profile designs on pillars that are crumbling faster than the myth that Iowa farmers care about the land. What are they there for, unless to shovel money at some cony contractor.

Don’t single out Dix. My dad said it takes three days. I say it varies. But learning the ways at the statehouse is easily translated as being bought.

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