The new CAFE.

Our wise leaders have once again decided that they can shape reality or perhaps in a more sinister sense decided what we should drive. Regardless if this is their own arrogance, their own egos telling them they can rewrite the laws of physics, chemistry, and engineering to suit their agendas or their desire for power over every aspect of our lives the new corporate average fuel economy targets will have an effect on what sort of vehicles we will be allowed to purchase.

A big deal has been made of the ‘closing of the SUV loophole’. The SUV loophole being that light trucks had a different and lower requirement than passenger. Back in the 1970s the only people who drove trucks were the people who needed trucks for business or recreational purposes. Those who created the legislation had the large passenger car in mind as their target so the light trucks were spared. The problem is that government had no concern for the actual market. What people wanted from their vehicles was of no concern to the ruling class. Automakers were either lazy and cheap and refused to build more fuel efficient vehicles or those in DC had the right to tell us what we could drive for our own good.

The SUV as it is called today has existed in the US vehicle market since at least the 1940s when Willy’s decided to try and market vehicles based on its famous design for the US military. There may be earlier examples of enclosed trucks designed for off-road and passenger use. From time to time I find earlier examples of certain things and I feel I should leave the possibility that there is an even earlier example of the “SUV”. From the 1940s through the 1970s and much of the 1980s the enclosed truck was a niche vehicle for outdoors men, ranchers, farmers, and construction companies. These trucks were few and far between.

Until I was in high school in the back half of the 1980s the only people I knew who had one was a family that did a lot of camping. The father ran the local Boy Scouts. It made sense as neighbors had bent the frame on their small car by towing a little pop trailer with the family in the car. This small car had been a replacement for the large Ford station wagon they had previously.

In the late 80s I became interested in various things automotive. I was noticing a lot more of these trucks were on the road. Additionally there were many more pickup trucks. Sales figures shown in automotive publications showed this was not just a local thing, something happening market wide. It would take a few more years before the media would catch on.

In 1985 the last step of the original 1970s Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards had kicked in. The early steps of CAFÉ resulted in the cars being downsized somewhat but there was little loss in capability. This final step however meant big changes. GM had eliminated nearly all of their full size models. Classic names like the Oldsmobile Delta 88 were now on smaller front wheel drive cars that were simply shadows of the previous versions. Things weren’t better at Ford where only the Crown Victoria and its Mercury and Lincoln siblings were left. At Chrysler, no full size sedans or wagons had survived.

The offerings were different. Very different. The problem was, people’s maximum needs for the vehicles didn’t change. Some tried to use the new passenger car offerings, like neighbors I mentioned earlier. The result was breaking the car. Their solution was to buy a large conversion van. Others didn’t even bother trying. They found what the market offered that fit their needs. This is the true rise of the passenger truck.

These mid to late 1980s trucks were still the niche vehicles of decades past. Their interiors were for utility not comfort. They were trucks. They were designed to get dirty and be abused. They drove like trucks. But they could do the things people needed. These vehicles could still seat many adults or a bunch of kids. They could tow things. They could carry cargo. All those things people had to do occasionally that their full size sedans could accomplish but current passenger car offerings could not.

Detroit’s automakers weren’t entirely stupid. They could see the sales figures and they knew what to do to make money. Make the enclosed trucks comfortable. Soon these trucks had interiors not unlike the full size sedans of old. Options not needed by the former market started to appear. The tucks were also made more car like to drive which angered those who wanted them for off-road use. They lost capability as trucks to function as large passenger vehicles.

During this same period was the rise of the mini-van. The mini-van served as light truck replacement for the station wagon (as did some SUVs). Chrysler was the first to successfully market mini-vans but the concept went back to an AMC show vehicle in the 1970s but the company lacked the money to develop it.  One could even say some of the old delivery sedans were early ‘mini-vans’. In any case it was a market reaction to elimination of the full-size station wagon thanks to regulation.

Once light trucks were half the market fleet fuel economy was low. The remaining boring offerings in large passenger cars, which were now just the Ford triplets by the late 1990s, had advanced quite a bit in fuel economy but the fleet average was pathetic thanks to the widespread use of light trucks. The automakers were attacked in the media. SUV owners were attacked. But who was really to blame? Government.

Fast forward to the present. The ‘loophole’ is closed, but have people’s needs changed to the point where they can accept driving small vehicles? Has technology advanced far enough that our rulers can really demand something into being? I would answer ‘no’ to both. Many Americans still want or need large passenger vehicles and while technology has advanced significantly the new mileage requirements will demand the end of the light truck as we know it.

I believe that passenger cars will largely be unchanged. Passenger trucks, light trucks, will go through what passenger cars did in the 1970s. They will lose capability. Dramatically lose capability. Some may become hybrids. They will have issues. They will be compromised. People will look for another alternative.

What will be that alternative? The first thing that comes to mind will be for people to go bigger. They can move into a class of truck that is not covered. These are commercial trucks. At the height of SUV sales marketing people thought that bigger was the way to go. They made SUVs in this class. These were like the full size suburban the scoutmaster had, but somewhat bigger. The market was too small and most vanished for lack of sales. Now they might be seen as the only game in town. The rules have changed and people might put up with these gigantic vehicles over the alternatives. Automakers will respond to it, government will not be happy.

The second alternative I can think of is more radical. It’s actually very environmentally friendly. That is to rebuild old vehicles, to make them like new or even better than new by incorporating new technologies and features. It will be expensive at first, but if it catches on the market will find ways to make it affordable. A worn out SUV can be driven into the shop of a provider and some time later out comes a ‘new’ vehicle with the latest appointments. The savings over constructing a new vehicle environmentally will be large, scarce resources will be conserved. The automakers and the government will not be happy about it.

Should the second alternative occur I feel the government will react quickly to decimate the supply of raw material or possibly even go as far as banning the practice. Government has waged a war on old cars since the 1980s. From clunker laws to ‘cash for clunkers’ government has sought to crush the stock of older vehicles. Automakers have urged it on. The old car hobby has been under attack for decades at local, state, and federal levels. Regular people using the same practices to avoid what our rulers demand of us will bring about renewed and intensive efforts to crush automotive restoration. Their favorite tools of regulation and licensing will be but the first steps.

These are but two possible alternatives, but the market may come up with others. People will not just accept what we are told we must live with. There will be work-arounds. There will be unintended consequences. The market will get vehicles that suit its needs, even if those needs are vastly exceeded, so long as any vestige of a free market exists.

H-1B visas and layoffs

 

I just read: Nationalism Before Productivity & Quality over on the LRC blog by Karen DeCoster and that has reminded me of something that I wanted to point out.  I’d like to go a bit deeper drawing from my own experiences.

While the political hacks over simplify in one direction, the viewpoint that just out-working the H1-B visa holders is enough is simplistic in the other direction. Price competition on results is just the start. All too often people from technical discipline will manage another or the boss will be a pure pointy haired one out of the pages of “Dilbert”. This turns people into ‘resources’, that is replaceable cogs in a machine. Equal based on label. An H1-B visa holder who takes a week to do what an American born worker does in a day might keep his job simply because of the lower pay number on the spread sheet. 

When layoff time comes how productive a person is plays second in a lot of companies compared to their political standing. The more a person spends on his productivity the less time he’s spent on protecting himself politically. While the outright lazy and politically unprotected are the first to go the productive and politically unprotected are not far behind.

It’s not to say that the market doesn’t punish this behavior. GE and Motorola are probably the two biggest offenders on the planet with their ‘bottom 10%’ ranking system and the market is punishing them for it. The bottom 10% is usually occupied by those who are product centered and trying to turn a profit but have left themselves vulnerable politically or made enemies in the product development process. It is a politically driven turn over system designed expressly to lower employee costs, not to improve product. I could go on about it but the short story is that it depletes the company of its talent and the people who are the voices of change that a healthy company needs. Many more talented people see this and leave on their own out of frustration with the culture or to do it on their terms. GE suffered a loss of it’s most experienced people, Motorola copied GE and suffered, especially in their handset division. The talent is depleted while those who spent their time in CYA mode and never making decisions or being accountable for anything remain. These choices show up in the market, that is the silver lining of it all.If they really chose on merit they’d be in far better shape.

The H-1B visa system itself is a problem though. Many people in the US on such visas are looking to stay in the US as their primary (or at least significant) motivation. This is often due to US foreign and immigration policies. US foreign policy making them unable to have the life they want in their home country while immigration policies mean they’ll take lower wages in a field they wouldn’t otherwise have chosen to stay in the US. This causes the signal of demand for technical talent to be distorted. Foreigners see it as a way to better life (by moving to the USA), increasing the number of people overseas who enter technical professions. Meanwhile it hurts wages in the US sending a signal to American young people that the fields are too much work for too little pay. They can make far more in financial fields or with an easy business degree (thanks to the monetary system) so the number of Americans entering the technical fields gets smaller. The US schools scramble to fill seats and get foreign students. Companies use the shortage of qualified Americans to justify more H-1B visas and the cycle continues.

Solution? Forget about visas and the quotas. (yes, that would require ending the socialism) This way the people seeking H-1Bs won’t cut their price just to stay in the US and will choose their profession on their own desires rather than what will get them into the USA.   Better yet, fix US foreign policy and then many won’t even want to enter the US because they’ll have what they want at home.  Then wages will increase to the true market demand and that will encourage Americans to enter technical professions.

I think the H-1B situation is the usual of government interference begetting more government interference. (that is in addition to being for the benefit of some over others) 

 

An anology.

The overwhelming question of the day is why should some people be allowed to keep homes they bought but could not afford at a cost to those who made prudent decisions and either rented or purchased homes they could afford. I believe I have a suitible analogy to the situation.

Ever be sitting at a red light and when the light turns green someone in a neighboring lane figures out they are in the wrong lane and decides they want over into the lane you are in and the guy in front of you sits there and lets him in… then the guy in front of you squeezes through on the yellow and you’re stuck there for another red cycle?

Now the driver in the wrong lane could have sucked it up and found a place to turn around, or the driver in front of you could have ignored him and not let him in, but neither did. The driver in the wrong lane wanted the easiest solution to a problem of his own making. The driver in front of you wanted to a good deed to help someone. You got stuck with the bill.

When I’ve been stuck behind someone doing that I have simply layed on the horn to voice my objection and let the generous person know that there are people behind him. In all cases people look at me as if I am the problem. Why should I object to waiting an extra red signal because someone was in the wrong lane? Or maybe they cannot even conceive that their act of generosity (so the person in the wrong lane is not delayed) comes at the cost of delaying other people who were in the right lane.After all, the person in the wrong lane just made a mistake and needs some help. According to most in American society that is being courteous, to let the guy in.

Real courtesy is something rather different however. It’s the person making the mistake realizing that his mistake does not mean he gets to impose a cost on other people. If he is in the wrong lane he goes the direction of that lane and finds a place to turn around or goes around the block or makes other adjustments.

I think the way people behave in little things like driving explains their behavior in larger things. American society is one where people are expected to do good deeds for other people where the costs are placed upon a third party who had no say in the matter.

 

 

The CBO agrees, The Stimulus Will crowd out private investment.

Obama’s Stimulus Will Cause ‘Lower Wages’ for American Workers, Says Congressional Budget Office

Wow. The forces of reason are really making an impact when even part of the government agrees with Austrian theory.

The analysis concludes that the stimulus will put downward pressure on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and wages after 2014.

But they are still a little bit off on the date. It’s going to be a lot sooner than that.

Although it gets better:

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the ranking Republican on the House Budget
Committee, said the CBO analysis underestimates the long-term economic
consequences.
 
“Number one, the spending spends out very slowly, so it doesn’t give
you much of a pop,” Ryan told CNSNews.com. “Number two, it costs much
more than advertised. Number three, at the end of the day, it would
have been better to do nothing for the economy given that it [the
stimulus package] will reduce GDP growth and wages.”

In the end, all we have is a government that creates a crisis, then uses the crisis for its own benefit, and then lengthens the crisis.

 

 

The NY Times expects us to feel sorry for:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/19/business/economy/19bonus.html?_r=3&hp

These poor people who didn’t get their five and six figure bonuses this year.

How will they ever live on mere $25,000 bonuses?

“Anthony Abraham, 33, a management consultant in Chicago, is already
figuring he will not be buying a new car, and has canceled a trip to
Paris and will be paying back less than planned on his student loans. Last year, his bonus was around $50,000. This year, it will be half that amount, he figures, give or take a few thousand.”

Really? He has to cancel his trip to Paris? Gee… such suffering. No new car? Oh my… heavens he might be seen in last year’s car! One would think with a six figure salary and fifty grand bonuses he would have paid off those student loans well before he was 33 years old.

I can see why nobody reads this paper any more and their stock price is now less than the sunday news stand edition.Could they be any more out of touch with reality?

 

 

Proping up prices.

 

I’m in the market for a new car. Problem is I’m not only picky and cheap but I hate car shopping. I dislike car salesman, dealerships, the entire experience. Since before it hit the showrooms I have been interested in the Shelby Mustang GT500.

Before the car came out Ford promised to build them to demand, that is to make as many as people wanted so that the dealers could not jack up the price based on a much lower volume of vehicles than buyers. Ford then changed and put them on dealer allocation. That is dealers would get a certain number of GT500s based on their sales volume and that’s it. There would be no going into a dealership and ordering it just the way I wanted it because the dealers would option theirs out in such a way to maximize their profit. This was a big minus because I really wanted to order one stripe delete. I don’t like them. I wanted a more understated car. I don’t need nor want the attention. Even worse it meant there would be much fewer cars than buyers.

When the cars hit the show room dealers started selling them at 15 – 20 thousand over sticker. Over the years this has declined to 5-15K over sticker. But you say Ford is having problems, prices should be down now? No. One local Ford dealer that is up front about their over-sticker price is still asking 5 grand over  sticker. Another which does not put that price on the window has had the same cars on their lot for months now. Business is bad, but they still don’t come down in price. I still do not buy.

I’ve been waiting for the crash for a long time now. I knew the bust would come in housing and everywhere else. I ended up buying housing because I just could not wait any longer, but I did it in such a way to minimize my exposure to the bust and so far so good. But I could hold out on cars. I have the ability to keep the cars I have going forever if I need to. I expect the bust to bring down the prices. I did not expect government bailouts to keep high prices continuing.

Without the bailouts the local dealers would need to clear these cars off their lots. With bailouts, with artifically low interest rates, they can leave the cars sit there until they find someone willing to pay the inflated price. I drove by the dealership today, the one they have in a more understated color that I could probably live with has been there since before I first noticed it in late October. They move it around every so often, but there it still sits. I stopped in once before the snow fell and asked if they were still selling them for over sticker, sure enough, they were. More GT500s and other Fords marketed as instant collectables and sold for over sticker have joined it. At last count they had 6 such cars just sitting there. In a real bust this would be impossible. The interest on such inventory alone would be killing them. But with the bailouts and federal reserve monetary policy they can afford to have the cars sit there until they get their price.

This little experience of my own shows me why government action extends and deepens depressions. Those of us who waited for the bust are the ones with the money to spend. We aren’t going to spend until prices are acceptable to us. The government works to keep prices high, but the people who bought at high prices are broke, over-extended, and so forth. They might want to spend but they aren’t capable of spending any more. They expended their resources and the resources they could borrow in the boom. All that’s available is what those of us who saved durring the boom have. The only way to get things going is to cater to savers, to cater to the patient buyers, not the reckless ones. But government and the Federal Reserve keep acting to keep prices higher than what will get a saver to part with his money and buy.

I’ll continue waiting to buy a new car until the cars I want, if it’s the GT500 or one of the others (which haven’t come down in price either as far as I can tell) is being sold for a price I am willing to pay for it. As will the rest of the people who have money to spend in this bust. The government can get out of the way and let prices fall and business can get going again or it can stay in the way and keep the pause button pressed.

 

Here we go again….

 

The car crushing ideas are back. I knew these were coming and first learned of the proposals not too long after the election. Now they are getting more serious about it. From an LRC blog post I read about the latest ideas to crush older cars.

Crushing of old cars is something that makes a go around when ever there’s an excuse that can be used for it. When I used to read Hemmings Motor News there was a dedicated column on fighting government legislation that was aimed at automotive hobbyists. I think I first learned of these crusher laws in the 1980s. Thanks to dedicated people fighting these bills and laws their impact has been limited but still damaging to the supply of parts and cars.

Like all government interventions there are all sorts of groups that line up to benefit from these laws. From the car manufacturers to Hollywood getting pollution credits they could sell for all the old iron they destroy in films and television. Hence part of the reason Hollywood has so many 30+ year old cars destroyed in their products.

This is the one area that had me liking Colin Powell many years ago because he understands car hobbies. He once said that he lived on base because he knew he’d have trouble with neighbors because of his disassembled cars elsewhere.This communicated an understanding of the problems faced by those of us who like these machines and work on them for fun. But government doesn’t understand fun, only it’s agendas and those of the interests allied with it. It just needs an excuse to act.

The argument that it is better for the environment to replace the older cars is one that is absurd to anyone with the least bit of understanding of what goes into a car. The costs of building a car are neglected by the technically ignorant people that make up the majority of political representatives. The energy and resources that go into building a vehicle need to be made up by the better efficiency of the new one. This takes time. So much time that the ‘new’ car will likely be old and used up by the time it breaks even with keeping the old one around. It is much more environmentally sound to restore the existing car or at the very least keep using it until it is uneconomical to. Once sent to salvage yard the car is stripped for parts maximizing it’s value. Government wants those parts destroyed to force other old cars off the road.

The other excuse is the economy, that the government has to encourage spending by getting people to buy new cars. How is it going to do this? By forcing the destruction of older cars which many businesses need to exist. The repair shops, the parts retailers, the part manufacturers, the restoration shops, body shops, and so on. All the untold numbers of small businesses who benefit from people keeping their old cars on the road and the auto restoration hobby.

It is the “seen” and the “unseen” once again. What we see are new car sales and a more fuel effecient fleet. What we don’t see is the diverted energy to build new cars where no new cars were needed instead of something the market needed. Maybe people really needed appliances or bridges or who knows what, but instead the interference in the market diverted resources to building vehicles that weren’t needed. We don’t see the energy that could have operated the old cars for decades that was used up just building a new one. We don’t see the people who are out of work or had to close their businesses because there were fewer old cars to be repaired and restored.

Meanwhile a recession continues as people wait to see what the government will do. Those who have the money for a new car think the government might make them a better deal so they wait. The manufacturers and other businesses involved can’t plan because of all the uncertainities of the political process. Will their product even be legal when it gets to market? What cars will be subsidized, which won’t? Who knows? Hard to say. Limbo. It all hovers in limbo until government is done trying to ‘act’. 

 

 

The money of science fiction.

In science fiction it is often interesting to see how money is
treated. Most movies and television series barely touch on it. Usually
money is refered to as ‘credits’ or some other form of computer
accounting. Rarely is there any sort of currency paper or otherwise.It is almost always some sort of central bank system where money is completely abstract and controlled by some beveloent government, at least in those stories of a better future.

Despite such systems much
of the trade shown is by barter. This makes a great deal of sense given
the exploration nature of most stories. Much of the rest is about
worlds that aren’t exactly utopias, more like the opposite and people
were forced back into barter to get by.

Thanks to hulu.com I
have been watching the orignal Battlestar Galactica, many of these
episodes I haven’t seen since I was kid when they originally aired
about 30 years ago.  I have just watched Season
1 : Ep. 10, “The Magnificent Warriors” and from this episode it is
established that the currency of the 12 colonies and beyond is gold.
Starbuck carries with him a small pouch of oddly shaped gold colored
coins as is seen in most of series but not really defined as to what they are. In this episode Starbuck goes to buy some seeds and the seller looks at his coins describing a few them with different names indicating they are from many different worlds and says ‘you have a bit of everything here’. He then places all the coins on a scale to find out how much gold he has.
Apparently all the various planets minted their own coins but all of gold.

The original BSG isn’t that great on factual information. They keep getting basic aspects of astronomy wrong let alone the actual distances between stars and other bodies yet for money it appears well thought out unlike the better written stories.  Gold is shown to be portable and universal. It  also survives the great destruction caused by the war with the Cylons retaining value despite the Colonial government no longer existing in any form where it could back a currency.

Gold of course makes perfect sense. The money of central bankers wouldn’t be accepted on other worlds, but gold or at least some other commodity money would be.

Now I wonder who was behind the original BSG’s monetary system? :)

 

Blago and the senate seat.

 

Blago is going to face an impeachment trial for essentially a conspiracy to sell an appointment to a US senate seat.  As disgusting as it is, I think the people of Illinois, which I am one, and those of the nation will be worse off with the seat NOT being sold.

The more I learn, the more I believe that the most unsettling thing to happen to the delicate balance of the US Constitution was the amendment to go to the direct election of senators. This caused the senate to have the same concern as most house members, re-election and the power of the federal government. The founders weren’t stupid. They knew senators appointed by state governments would often be corrupt but that corruption would make them beholden to the state governments, not the federal government. 

So Blago would have sold a senate seat if he wasn’t stopped… what would that mean? It would mean that at the very worst Blago would have ‘his’ guy in DC. This would mean vote against any legislation that took away from the states. Blago’s guy in DC wouldn’t put up with cocerisive federal programs or any of the other nonsense that has become SOP since senators were elected directly. As bad as it sounds I think we would have been better off with someone ‘owned’ politically by the forces of the state government than someone who would vote for expansion of the federal government hoping voters forget by election time. The state level politicians wouldn’t forget.

 

 

Don’t look at the officer, divert your eyes for he is the law.

Saturday before Christmas, for the second time in a couple years I’ve been pulled over by a cop because I looked at him.

The first time was when I looked at a cop who while driving with a
cell phone to his ear made a left turn across my path forcing me to
brake. He then did a u-turn and came after me at a high rate of speed
and proceeded to pull me over and scream at me. He was quite angry that
I ‘made a face’ at him. Well of course I did, he forced me to slam on
the brakes to a stop because he wasn’t paying attention to the task at
hand, driving. He made up conditions that did not exist not to mention
laws that did not exist and wrote out a warning. The warning was for
not yielding. A lie since I had stopped and had yielded to him. I just
didn’t yield with the appropriate deference to his authoritah. He had
to show me who is boss.  After he returns my license with the warning
he starts up again. I tell him that he was in the turn lane when my
signal turned green and I believed he would stop. I finally see the
light bulb go on in his head as his (steroid induced?) anger began to
wind down. It finally dawns on him that he did turn after the arrow had
expired entirely. 

It was after this I started using a video camera in my car on a
regular basis. Sadly I did not have it running for the instance I
describe in my LRC article on suburban traffic tickets.

The funniest thing about this cop is that he wasn’t paying attention
to his driving and mistimed a yellow signal causing me to take evasive
action. While I was paying attention for a right turn, decided that the
safest course of action was to proceed once I realized I had mistimed
it because that was the action that did not require any one else take
any action. Of course I was wrong in both instances because what is
right and what is wrong is now what a government employee says it is
when he says.

Back to the Saturday before Christmas, I pull behind this cook county police
vehicle in the right lane at a red signal and follow behind for a while
noticing how the officer is tailgating the vehicle in front of him. He
becomes frustrated and squeezes his cruiser between two vehicles in the
left lane. He is now tailgating someone else. This driver slows the
officer down more and I end up in front of the officer. The officer is
a mere memory of a past vehicle when he comes roaring up on my right
some distance later. He is doing about 60mph give or take 5mph in the
right lane while I am over in the left starting a pass.

I am driving ~43mph in a 45mph zone in the left lane. I had intended
to pass with a greater differential but I am not about to go any faster
than 2mph under the posted limit while a cop is behind me. Traffic to
my right is doing ~40mph. I am slowly passing it. The cop seeing that I
am the faster driver gets behind me. This is an important part, he got
behind me because I was moving slightly faster than the rest of
traffic. At first he stays back but he keeps getting closer. Closer and
closer. As I near an intersection where on the far side the right lane
ends I pass the last vehicle to my right. The officer then accelerates
and moves right, about half the hood of his crown vic vanishing from
the view in my mirrors. He was very close to the rear passenger side
corner of my car. As he passes (at a speed in excess of the posted
limit) I look at him. He passes and then brakes with part of his
cruiser intruding into the left lane. (Because the right lane has
narrowed) I stop. He waves me by.  I go and he flips on his lights and
pulls me over.

(quotes are not exact)

Cop: ‘how are you?’

me: -silence-

Cop: ‘how are you?’

me: ‘what?’

cop: ‘you have something to say to me’

me: ‘no’

He then goes on to say that I looked at him like he did something
wrong and I say he got close to my car and point to the rear. He
quickly changes gears. I state I was going 43 mph. He says that doesn’t
matter. Of course it doesn’t matter because it means he was speeding.
He then mentions IL’s keep right except to pass law, except he has a
distorted version where one can’t drive in the left lane of surface
streets past two intersections without turning. I tell him no such law
exists. He insists it does. I tell him I’ve read the vehicle code but
I’ll check it out online. He gets angry that I do not accept his word
that is the law. He wants to write a ticket and says I can take it to a
judge. He says he pulled me over to give me ‘advice’ that if I give him
‘attitude’ he’ll right up a ticket. Of course he knows that in c(r)ook
county traffic court the law doesn’t matter and he’ll have a good long
time to make up something else.  He goes on with more details of his made up law. Actual IL law
applies only to interstates. He’s lying to me and using threats to push
the lie.  He is the law. This traffic stop was about one thing and one
thing only, to tell me who is boss. To show that he can do me harm and
that I shouldn’t so much as look at him in the wrong manner.

Actual Illinois keep right except to pass law
applies only to interstates. What wording there was for surface streets
was removed and I did not violate that older wording because I was
passing traffic to my right and the lane ended once I was past it.

(d) Upon an Interstate highway or fully access controlled freeway,
a vehicle may not be driven in the left lane, except when overtaking
and passing another vehicle.
"

I say ‘no’ when he asks if I want to challenge it in court. But I
don’t say that he is right, because he’s lying to me. Shortly after he
demands I put my headlamps on even though it is 3pm and merely
overcast. I can see vehicles more than quarter mile away. There is no
such law requiring head lamps to be on in the middle of the day in such weather.

"(b) All other motor vehicles shall
exhibit at least 2 lighted head lamps, with at least one on each side
of the front of the vehicle, which satisfy United States Department of
Transportation requirements, showing white lights, including that emitted
by high intensity discharge (HID) lamps, or lights of a yellow or amber tint,
during the period from sunset to sunrise, at times when rain, snow, fog, or
other atmospheric conditions require the use of windshield wipers, and at
any other times when, due to insufficient light or unfavorable atmospheric
conditions, persons and vehicles on the highway are not clearly discernible at
a distance of 1000 feet."

With
his ego satisfied, the cop returns to his cruiser and  I get on my way.
I time my leaving from the side of the road so he gets stuck behind a
driver who was going much slower than I was.  The last I see of the
officer he’s stuck behind someone doing 35mph in a 50mph zone on a no
passing two lane road.  If he left me alone he would have been flying
along at 60mph.

Since I first started driving I’ve had cops tailgate me, cut me off,
change lanes and turn with out signaling, and so on. My first driving
encounter with a cop was with an Illinois state trooper. He was
aggressively tailgating the newly painted old car I was driving. I
followed the textbook with regards to what one should do when tailgated
and slowed down. The officer just got even closer. I held the slower
speed as the officer followed me through a right turn. A bit later I
had to make a left from the two lane road we were on so I signaled and
stopped to wait for a gap in on coming traffic. As I waited the trooper
pulled his car onto the gravel shoulder and purposely nailed the
accelerator to spray my car with rocks. I think if this were to occur
today I’d be pulled over and ticketed for something entirely made up.

I regard police as the most dangerous drivers on the road. Not only
for what I’ve mentioned above but a number of other occasions where I
have had them nearly hit my car or otherwise wreck theirs within my
view. One comical instance was where one speeding cop was tailgating
another and the lead one braked. The follower narrowly avoided a
collision. I watch cops closely when I am driving because of the double
threat they pose. I’ve looked at them many times when they’ve done
screwy things around me for years. It is only lately that I have been
pulled over for it. It’s a disturbing and petty exercise of power. They
have no problem with lying because they know the entire system is
corrupt and will not call them on it.

Most people seem to think it
to be stupid to do something such as I did, a mere look of disapproval. I find that most disturbing. These cops are not our masters, they
are just hired help. When they do something I would glare at any other
driver for, a cop will be treated no different. If that upsets them,
too bad. If they push the issue I think it will be worth the expense to
fight it.