A View Down The Road

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A few weeks ago, I wrote a story about Ford’s creepy MyKey system (see here), now standard equipment in all new Ford vehicles, and the ugly possibilities for controlling how we drive by controlling how the car can be driven. This week, I’m test-driving one of the latest Lincolns (the new MKZ) and it’s got some more of the same:MKZ55

As you drive, an icon within the speedometer (small image to the right of the speedometer needle in the image above) tells you what the speed limit is on the road you happen to be on – updated continuously via GPS as you drive.

The car doesn’t do anything – yet – beyond oh-so-helpfully remind you how fast the government insists you ought to be driving. But, consider the possibilities – and consider how all the technological pieces of the puzzle are rapidly coming together.

GPS mapping of virtually every surface street in the country is a done thing. A majority of new cars come equipped with GPS navigation – which is rapidly becoming a default standard in much the same was as power windows or air conditioning. Within a few years at most, it will be as difficult to find a new car without GPS as it is right now to find a new car without power windows or AC.

The latest versions of these GPS systems have “real time” functionality. They can adjust route guidance to take account of accidents along your planned route, for instance. This is handy. But the same functionality can be put to other uses, too. For instance, there is no technological reason why the new Lincoln MKZ’s ability to keep abreast of the speed limit wherever you happen to be driving could not also be used to limit the speed you drive – or at least, record your failure to abide by the speed limit and perhaps report your noncompliance to the authorities. Or more likely, your insurance company.

Perhaps both.ST Mykey3

Remember MyKey (all new Lincolns have it, too). An “administrator” can program the car to never exceed a pre-set speed. Once programmed, the system cannot be over-ridden except by someone who has the “administration” key. For the present, this is you – the vehicle’s owner. But the fact is that Ford – or the government – or your insurance company – could simply arrogate to itself “administrator” powers – and that will be the end of your ability to use your car as you wish to use it. The car’s electronic nanny knows the speed limit is 55 – or 35 – or whatever it happens to be at any given moment – and will not allow you to drive the car any faster, no matter how hard you stomp on the gas pedal. (Just as you’re not allowed to build an addition on “your” home – without the government’s permission.)

Cars could also simply be turned off, individually (as when you haven’t paid a fine or dome some other thing to incur the government’s displeasure) or en masse – in the event of some “national emergency.” Imagine a Boston Bomber scenario. For security reasons, the authorities throw a switch – and no one goes anywhere.

At least, not by car.

Far-fetched? No, technological fact. (See also the hacking of a Prius – making the car accelerate, brake (or not brake) via remote control. This is not a Prius-specific possibility. Any modern computer-controlled car is subject to being hacked – to being controlled externally – in this way.)

Oh, come on, Eric. They’d never do that. It’s ridiculous!

Really? In this day and age?police state picture

“Speeding” is, after all, illegal. How, pray, will you – how will anyone – defend continuing to allow people to own vehicles capable of being used in an illegal manner? When technology is available that would “save lives”?

The entire legal system is now premised on the concept of prior restraint – on the idea of controlling people who haven’t yet done anything in order to prevent them from possibly doing it. The public accepts random, your-papers-please checkpoints on the theory that someone might be driving without a license, without an updated registration or state-issued “safety” sticker. Perhaps unbuckled – or much worse, “drunk.”

Why not accept in-car systems that make speeding impossible – or at least, impossible to get away with? The children! Think about the children!

To me, it’s all as obvious as a freight train coming down the tracks – with us stalled out on the tracks, awaiting the inevitable. The insurance mafia has succeeded in making its service mandatory. It is beta-testing in-car monitoring (see here) which will likewise morph from being something you could opt for to something you cannot opt out of. The cars themselves will, within a few years, all come equipped with the necessary monitoring equipment.

And then, the gate will be slammed shut.2013 MKZ warning light

New cars are this close to being independent of driver control. Check Bcf Catalogue and Ezibuy Catalogue. This new Lincoln? In addition to monitoring the posted limit wherever you go, it will flash a series of frantic red lights if it thinks you haven’t slowed down fast enough and will actually step in and apply the brakes for you if it decides you haven’t done it fast enough on your own (Collision Warning With Brake Support). It beeps and flashes other warnings if you tread across the yellow line (Lane Departure Warning). The car is capable of parking itself – no input (beyond pushing a button) required of you.

It’s not just Lincoln  – or Ford, either. I merely used their systems as examples of similar systems you’ll find in a growing roster of new cars. It will not be long before no new cars lack such systems. At which point, we’ll be locked in – and become passengers more than drivers.

And as passengers, we’ll just be along for the ride. The when/where – and how – will be up to someone (or something) else.

Throw it in the Woods?

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  1. Just remember people. Hacking goes both ways. Oh sure, they might be able to get control of your car. Then again we might be able to get control of theirs. I mean, wouldn’t it be interesting if Senator Blowhard’s car just kind of sort of showed up in the warehouse district by itself for an impromptu meeting with his constituents?

  2. The best way to counter the police state, and reduce the number of those eager to participate… is to shun them. The police and their supporters must eat, buy gas, and so forth. Their children go to school, and their spouses have jobs.

    If nobody was willing to do business with them, talk to them, sit next to them…
    Far more effective and rational than marching in “protests,” or writing letters to whomever. The “protests” and letters simply assume that the ones being addressed actually have the legitimate authority to do whatever it is they do, and therefore might be persuaded not to do it.

    Eventually, people will have to learn that they own their lives and are the only ones with legitimate authority over them. Those who refuse to learn this, and take responsibility for their lives and safety, may well be doomed to the terrible fate we’ve talked about so long.

    It isn’t that there is no answer, no solution. It’s that most people are not willing to consider it or work hard enough to implement it.

    • ” Eventually, people will have to learn that they own their lives and are the only ones with legitimate authority over them. Those who refuse to learn this, and take responsibility for their lives and safety, may well be doomed to the terrible fate we’ve talked about so long. ”

      Doomed? or perhaps “Deserving thereof”….

      Well said anyway.

        • Dear Jean,
          “Deserved – but they will drag us to hell with them.”
          That of course is the crux of the problem.
          The “social contract” fiction makes the rest of us part of the scam against our will.

  3. Interesting that Ford would be out front with this intrusive technology. Would have thought that GM or Chrysler, who took the fed bailout money, would have been more obligated to whore out this way.

  4. I see the posted speed limit thing as a revenue enhancer. The government will send you a monthly invoice for the miles you exceeded the posted limit.

  5. Well, I’m sticking with pre-2005 for now.

    And I think it’s past time for aftermarket car computers. For safety!!

    Takes care of many issues including black box info (I would store that as random/corrupted data). Voids warranty and a non-OEM is technically illegal to drive on the road. Won’t be cheap though.

    No easy way for LEO to detect that a vehicle doesn’t have an OEM version. Even the emissions check/inspection stations would have a difficult time figuring that one out. Unless they attempt to take control and can’t….

  6. I guess if you’re thinking about a new car now is the time to get it, before THEY put all of this crap in them. Then drive it for the next 20 years.

  7. The Good news is there IS hope; there COULD be a Carrington-type event to take out most electronics. Best bet is to drive an old car, like a Beetle or any pre-EFI car.

  8. This upgrade (Ha!) from Ford Motor Co surprises me because they didn’t take the .gov bailouts, that GM & Chrysler did. Until Newton’s 3rd law of physics has been repealed and it hasn’t (for every action there is an equal & opposite reaction), I still have hope. The free market is far more nimble & responsive than any bureaucratic action or decree. I love old cars more & more as each day passes.

    • The powers that be in the early 20th century figured out how to manipulate people into wanting whatever it was that served the needs of the power structure. Media, government, schools, marketing, etc and so on. Thus people are convinced they need things like “My Key” and “On Star” before they even exist. Such things are brought into existence because people think they need them. People decide they want these things because they have been conditioned to want them.

      The idea is to culturally, socially manipulate the masses so that they bring the system into existence of their own doing. There is no vast conspiracy, there is the action of a relay or transistor or lever. It’s leverage. A very small group with access to the right switches sets the flow… the rest works on its own.

  9. I don’t remember where I heard this, but I think it’s relevant to the matter here. It was a reference to the idea that we are getting into a civil cold war or a cold civil war – basically that the general populace of the nation are regarded as enemies of the state but not to the point of open warfare.

    • You mean, because there aren’t bullets flying yet, it’s not open warfare?
      Economic warfare doesn’t count?
      Excessive taxation…?
      Laws to determine how you can pick your effing nose…?
      Criminalizing things that WERE legal, and hurt no one? (Sparklers, for example; Alcohol and cigarettes, where even sharing with someone “under age” is criminal? You’re going to tell a 17 year old, who can enlist, or an 18 year old, who can be drafted, that they are mature enough to go to war for their country, or kill for their country – but NOT mature enough to drink or smoke? OR VOTE?)

      Please check your premise: We are in a hot war, most people jsut aren’t on the front lines – and so they can pretend it doesn’t exist yet.

      I wish I were that stupid and/or naive.

      • And if we all look really close, it is right in front of our eyes. For example, the recent vote in the House rejecting Justin Amash’s attempt to defund the NSA. I mean, are you kidding me? The only vote by all those crooks should have been to pass the legislation to financially starve that agency. Instead, they told us we are enemy by rejecting it.

  10. “…will actually step in and apply the brakes for you if it decides you…”

    Please see currently running Mercedes TV adds automatically applying brakes to avoid hitting little girl running into the street to retrieve soccer ball. You bet total control is already here!!

    Also, thanks for the link to the progressive article you wrote going on 2 years ago now. Every time I see that commercial I want to throw bricks at my TV.

    • “Also, thanks for the link to the progressive article you wrote going on 2 years ago now. Every time I see that commercial I want to throw bricks at my TV.”

      Amen, Bob – me too.

  11. Ultimately, I’m not terribly concerned. The wishes of, i.e. the insurance scam, is only relevant if the forced compliance support system currently in place continues. The economics of it, when viewed through the prism of the System, is soon to fail, spectacularly. This is across the board, across all markets.

    I suspect that for automakers, to even contemplate economic survival, a regression to past principles will be necessary. Even points and condensers might easily see a production cost analysis revival.

    • “The economics of it, when viewed through the prism of the System, is soon to fail, spectacularly. This is across the board, across all markets.”

      Yep, I can see that happening, and right soon. Agreed.

      The use of points and condensor, though, is dependent upon the car’s ignition system having a cam gear driven distributor with an external coil or coil module, which many do not have. My current daily driver has a distributorless ignition system, with just the coil and plug wires receiving impulse commands from the computer.

  12. This is horrible, but not surprising. In a day and age where some dickweed mayor can limit how big your soda is, does anyone think that the gummint will ignore cars?


    1) Hacking and loss of control could be partly circumvented by manually installing a killswitch to the vehicle’s computer or power supply (think of it as a modern version of a Howdah pistol).

    2) Everyone with one of these cars should carry a bug out bag for everyone in the car, 72 hours worth at least. As Eric points out, the “Boston” scenario is going to get very common with this sort of thing, probably even down to a drunk driver being in the area. Trying being out in a remote area in bad weather and they forget to turn the juice back on to your car.

    2.5) What about solar flares? Do these things have to have an “always on” connection? What happens if there is a problem with the network? On-vehicle caching will probably not be an option, because a person could just disable the antenna and not be subject to Big Overlord’s control.

    3) Speaking of remote areas — are these things going to allow driving in areas where the roads aren’t mapped? Or are we going to see signs that say “Caution, vehicle will not operate past this point?” What if someone pulls down a sign as a prank?

    4) Anything, unless it’s completely airgapped, is at risk of hacking. Since vehicle systems were not network integrated until recently, this means that the vehicle software industry is well behind the times in terms of security. A remote connection to a vehicle, which allows vehicle control, is a horrible idea. Even if this is well-protected, the fact that vehicles have a multiple networked system on board means that there may be a vulnerability through physical access, if one component isn’t wholly secure.

    5) And yeah, everything these days is all about “Someone might commit a crime, maybe.” When everyone’s a suspect, the people are the enemy of the state.

    • The UK appears to me to be much worse.

      At least here – in most or at least many areas – one is still legally entitled to use physical violence in self-defense.

      • In the UK they took our guns years ago. One simply needs to look at the article to see what new powers have been given to the cops.

      • Which is why I live in Germany – at least for 5 months each year. Traveling home on the Autobahn from Bayern last week, I reached a speed on the GPS of 217Km/h (ca. 135MPH) before having to slow to 170 for traffic. That freedom makes up for a small apartment and high sales and gas taxes.
        Personal data protection are also a strictly enforced law.

        • Hi Doug,

          I’m still able to “speed” a fair amount – though not for extended periods, as on the Autobahn.

          There is a nice road not far from our place where I routinely run the bike up to 150-plus. Just for a few moments, but it helps keep me on an even keel.

          Then I drive up the long – private – gravel road that leads to our place. 16 acres that’s (more or less) mine. I could not deal with living in an apartment, with people all around me.

  13. http://www.sodahead.com/living/remote-control-devices-will-shut-off-your-engine-if-your-car-payment-is-late-fair-or-unfair/question-330917/?link=ibaf&q=&esrc=s

    Cars can already be shut down. If they are financed and you don’t pay, the get turned off! I don’t think this is fair. No, people shouldn’t be late on their payments. However, there is already legal regress in place. What if someone can’t get to work to make money to pay? What if they are going through a divorce or some other financial difficulty and are only a month late?

    The best solution in my books is to find old luxury cars on ebay that have low mileage. Yes, they “may” take more gas but I have seen many very nice Lincoln Continentals on ebay for under $5000, with low very mileage.

  14. I guess I better stock up on spare parts for my ’03 Corolla so I can keep it running for another 20 years or so until I’m too feeble to drive (just turned 66). If the ptb claim they are only looking out for our saaaaafety limiting your speed is incredibly NOT safe. I rented a car in Fla. a couple of years ago that had a governor (or probably the computer) limit the speed to 80mph. Was trying to pass a semi on I-75 where the speed limit is 70, so traffic was flowing at about 75 and the damn car kept flashing warnings and holding back as I tried to get up to a safe(!) passing speed and be done with it. The car was probably sending nastygrams back to Budget headquarters as well, but screw them I’ll be damn sure never to rent from them again.

    • Mike,

      Exactly so. But, consider:

      It is already illegal to pass at a speed higher than the posted maximum. The law requires you go no faster than 55 (as an example) to pass a slow-poke doing 47… even though the traffic is flowing at 60-something. The law puts you in the position of having to pass dangerously – or illegally.

      Or not at all.

      • Not true . . . here in Michigan, you are allowed to exceed the speed limit in order to pass (overtake) a vehicle IF the overtaking is 1000 feet or less. I checked this out with the Michigan state police.
        In Michigan, it is legal to pass on the right, but only if the road has more than two lanes in the same direction . . .

        • Hi Anarchyst,

          That’s interesting. I’d never heard of an exception to the speed limit. That it’s lawful to “speed” at any time, for any reason.

          I know for certain that won;t fly – in court – in my state (VA).

          “Speeding” is always illegal.

          • Eric…a little engineering perspective. The basis for speed limits comes from the MUTCD (Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices) and is (with the notable exceptions of school zones and government mandated highway/freeway limits) the speed at which 80% of drivers will drive at or below. Therefore, exceeding the posted speed limit simply means you’re in the top 20 percentile and are justifying said limit…I’ve used this twice to ‘get out of’ speeding tickets. More than likely, the revenue collectors in blue were just baffled by the point and didn’t want to deal with it…and ‘allowed’ me to continue on my way.

            • If only local/state governments did use the MUTCD as the basis for setting speed limits!

              In my area at least, the typical speed limit is well below the speed at which 80 percent of cars are traveling. For instance, I-581. It is still posted 55 MPH. Virtually everyone is driving at least 65. A limit in accordance with MUTCD would be 70-75 at the least; maybe 80.

        • People driving in the LH lane are everywhere here in Michigan. They are the biggest cause of accidents, poor traffic flow and road rage. I started pulling out in front of them wehen there is no one in the Rh lane. We work on all the police cars here and I bitch to them all the time. I hate the cops but I wish they would atleast warn them against doing it. It’s funny when I went to Idaho I had to pass 2 peopleonthe right the whole way there and back. Mostly it seems to be stupid women on the phone.

  15. Ha ha stupid cow (clover?) drivers. Government surveillance is expensive, so we’ll just make you pay for it when you buy the car. By the way Winston, please press your right thumb on the radio LCD, your speeding citation court date will print out from the A/C vent.

  16. Interesting timing today……
    Just before opening this website I was doing a search regarding how to disable Onstar. Turns out that there are removal instructions available for specific cars.

    Then I was curious about Event Data Recorders….. and how to disable them.

    Then I read about the legal ramifications involved with disabling these black boxes.

    Having read how the “leaker” reporter by the last name of Hastings had a convienient “accident” the day before he was going to release some sensative information. Seems his brand new Mercedes with electric steering steered him into a stout tree after his car accelerated to ove 100 mph. Oh, and the engine was found 100 feet BEHIND the car.

    It appears that Mr. Hastings lost control of the car. Because some one else took control. By REMOTE CONTROL.

    I feel that if I buy a car, it is NO ONES BUSINESS where I am, or what I do with my car.

    I suppose we can be sent to prison soon for wanting to disable the G..d D….d black boxes.

    • I’m pretty certain there will be no disabling these black boxes allowed. If you manage to figure out a way I imagine your vehicle will tell on you or malfunction often. If that doesn’t get you, they’ll be sure to get you at state inspection/emissions time. The only way around it will be to have a pre-black box vehicle.

        • Exactly, they’ll tie it together with stricter emissions so that you can’t register your old pre-ban vehicle unless older than 1971. I imagine this is the big push for Tesla to become mainstream, basically to outlaw all older combustion engines while implementing Tesla with GPS shutdown feature.

          Of course I could just be paranoid, but me thinks it will be a 1-2 punch with EPA also playing their parts.

        • Brent,

          I’m convinced this is coming –

          If this system doesn’t collapse (or isn’t replaced by something sane) within 10 years.

          Enjoy your old car – and bike – while you still can.

          My gut tells me I ought to sell everything and just leave. Maybe Argentina or Chile. By no means ideal. But at least, not as bad as where we’ll find ourselves here – and not too very far down the road from now, either.

          • Listen to your gut Eric. It’s not only cars and our communications privacy Big Brother is sticking his nose in. There are a lot of other things he is doing your probably not aware of.
            I saw this coming a long time ago and protected myself in ways people laughed about. I’ve been living outside the red, white and blue curtain for 11 years now with no regrets.

            • I know it, Doug – I have a very bad feeling about the future. But, like a lot of people, I’m stuck with no good options.

              Leaving entails starting over. Not real appealing when you’re mid 40s as opposed to mid 20s. Intellectually, I understand that I may well lose everything by not leaving. On the other hand, walking away from everything I’ve spent my entire life working for – knowing I will likely never achieve anything like it again (starting from scratch) and thus, spending my middle and old age in a diminished position, possibly worse off than I was at age 22 and just out of college – but no longer 22 and with 20-plus years ahead of me to rebuild before I got old – is equally unappealing. As bad as things are, I am much consoled by having my house and land and relative peace and quiet so long as I remain on the compound. I hate the city. Crowds. I’ve managed to escape that, after a lot of sweat and a lot of years. It is why I’ve set my mind to fighting to protect it, if it comes to that.

              If I were a younger, certainly, things would be different.

          • “don’t leave….”

            writing can be done anywhere. *posting* could well become easier done from elsewhere. (it might also postpone, at least, it becoming an exercise in posthole digging.) seems like there have already been previews of that coming contraction.

            “strike the root” is a fine idea. but first you gotta’ unearth it. else the taproot’ll just keep…tapping. but if all the soil around that root, or even just a significant part of that soil from which the root sucks its nutrients, erodes (walks) away, you may still strike (just for the exercise value of chopping wood), you may take up carving & whittling, as we used to do with chunks of driftwood, you may just strike a match & roast marshmallows. “you” in the probable long run, i mean. posterity…which, probably, has nada to do with the time frame that is your one life.

            the emperor has no clothes…but the root has plenty of soil. to be, or not to be – hamlet’s soililoquy…to desoil, or be despoiled…diaspora sail or dirt nappers on tap….

            Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
            Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore —
            While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
            As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
            “ ’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door —
            Only this and nothing more.”

            Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
            And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
            Eagerly I wished the morrow; — vainly I had sought to borrow
            From my books surcease of sorrow — sorrow for the lost Lenore —
            For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore —
            Nameless here for evermore.

            And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
            Thrilled me — filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
            So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
            “ ’Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door —
            Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; —
            This it is and nothing more.”

            Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
            “Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
            But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
            And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
            That I scarce was sure I heard you” — here I opened wide the door; ——
            Darkness there and nothing more.

            Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
            Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
            But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
            And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore?”
            This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!” —
            Merely this and nothing more.

            Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
            Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
            “Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice;
            Let me see, then, what the threat is, and this mystery explore —
            Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;—
            ‘Tis the wind and nothing more!”

            Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
            In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
            Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
            But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door —
            Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door —
            Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

            Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
            By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
            “Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,
            Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore —
            Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”
            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

            Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
            Though its answer little meaning — little relevancy bore;
            For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
            Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door —
            Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
            With such name as “Nevermore.”

            But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
            That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
            Nothing farther then he uttered — not a feather then he fluttered —
            Till I scarcely more than muttered “Other friends have flown before —
            On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before.”
            Then the bird said “Nevermore.”

            Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
            “Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store
            Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
            Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore —
            Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
            Of ‘Never — nevermore’.”

            But the Raven still beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
            Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
            Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
            Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore —
            What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
            Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”

            This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
            To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core;
            This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
            On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er,
            But whose velvet-violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er,
            She shall press, ah, nevermore!

            Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
            Swung by seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
            “Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee — by these angels he hath sent thee
            Respite — respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Lenore;
            Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!”
            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

            “Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil! — prophet still, if bird or devil! —
            Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
            Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted —
            On this home by Horror haunted — tell me truly, I implore —
            Is there — is there balm in Gilead? — tell me — tell me, I implore!”
            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

            “Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil! — prophet still, if bird or devil!
            By that Heaven that bends above us — by that God we both adore —
            Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
            It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore —
            Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.”
            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

            “Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting —
            “Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
            Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
            Leave my loneliness unbroken! — quit the bust above my door!
            Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

            And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
            On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
            And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
            And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
            And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
            Shall be lifted — nevermore!
            ~ poe, “the raven”

            cowbell chris!

            darth basso

            White bird with a black tail
            Eyes dark and face so pale
            Do you know what your future holds?
            Over your side of the road
            White bird with a black tail
            You look like an open sail
            Made me look up from my shoes
            To show me what you stand to lose
            White bird, white bird
            With your face so pale
            White bird, white bird
            Where’d you get that tail?
            White bird, white bird
            With a black tail
            White feathers dipped in tar
            Its hard to tell how old you are
            Wonderin’ how much you know
            About all of us below
            Half of you is heavenly
            Showin’ off your purity
            The rest of you is from the stream
            Like a land where they both meet
            White bird, white bird
            With your face so pale
            White bird, white bird
            Where’d you get that tail?
            White bird, white bird
            With your face so pale
            White bird, white bird
            With a black tail

            ~kt tunstall, “white bird”


            White bird,
            in a golden cage,
            on a winter’s day,
            in the rain.

            White bird,
            in a golden cage,

            The leaves blow,
            Across the long black road.
            To the darkened skies,
            in its rage

            But the white bird just sits in her cage,

            White bird must fly
            Or she will die

            White bird,
            dreams of the aspen trees,
            with their dying leaves,
            turning gold.

            But the white bird just sits in her cage,
            growing old.

            White bird must fly or she will die.
            White bird must fly or she will die.

            The sunsets come, the sunsets go.
            The clouds roll by, and the earth turns old.
            And the young bird’s eyes do always glow.

            She must fly,
            She must fly,
            She must fly.

            White bird,
            In a golden cage,
            On a winter’s day, in the rain.

            White bird,
            In a golden cage alone.

            White bird must fly or she will die.
            White bird must fly or she will die.
            White bird must fly or she will die.

            ~ it’s a beautiful day, “white bird”


          • Eric,

            Re leaving: I’m in a similar boat. Mid-40s, just got married and had a kid, established in central Texas. Even a few years before I thought about and looked into leaving, but no place appeals. I read about things ex-pats do overseas and sitting in an in-town house or apartment while working all day I guess would be OK, but then what do I do outside of work? Can’t work on the cars, can’t do much work on the house, can’t garden, forget about tractor work – I enjoy doing productive activities outdoors in my spare time. I guess I could drink a lot.

            And if you live outside of town, about the only sort of job for middle-class foreigners are things like buying and running a hotel, which, given my complete lack of business running experience even here in the US, would be financial suicide. Most countries I could afford to move to have minimal rural services – lucky if you have electricity.

            • Hi Mike,


              Despite all the taxes/obnoxiousness, I am able to live a pretty comfortable life – a life that would be impossible (for me) in most of Europe, because I’m not a multi-millionaire. And that’s what it takes to have 15-20 acres of land, a nice house, etc., over there.

              South America? I might be able to acquire something comparable – using the money I obtained from selling everything I have. But then there are the issues you’ve raised. And how to earn money? I’m not really very keen on either manual labor or menial labor as a source of income at this point in life.

              So, here I stand. Ich kann nicht anders.

          • or, a split-stitch in time saves nine (maybe even the whole garment).

            how to be robust, or antifragile, to possible zenophobia is a question.

            zeno’s phobia paradox : the devil you know, or the one you don’t. dichotomy reflex sensation is you gotta’ marry one or the other…but this is really is a situation where polygamy/polyandry is superior. a redhead, a blonde, & a brunette – all replaceable. maybe even a sinéad/telly…sometimes nothin’ can be a real cool hand. ☻

          • michael.white, I don’t see why (in many countries) you couldn’t work on cars, work on the house, garden, and do tractor work?

            If anything, your outlook seems to describe the unitedstate right now, for some, in many places and situations depending on where in the unitedstate you are.

            If SHTF as bad as some people say it will, those who are not too keen on either manual labor or menial labor as a source of income might wind up doing so anyway, if they leave or if they stay.
            Didn’t eric write he was learning to weld?
            A lot of preparedness authors mention learning new skills that others might want or need, … Ahh, I ran out of time to flesh this comment out better. Posting anyway. The weekend is Here.

            • Hi DS,

              I think he may mean that you can’t take these things with you. The cost to transport/ship would likely be prohibitive. Also, there’s the issue of being in a position to buy a comparable place as an expat. And then to be able to generate the income necessary to keep it.

              I have no aversion to manual labor – when it’s me doing stuff around my place. But doing it for a living? For someone else? Maybe when I was 25.

              Not now.

              So, what else is there? How does one make a living as an expat?

              Trading being a wage slave for the IRS in exchange for being a serf in some banana republic doesn’t sound like a smart bargain!

              I’ve looked into several European countries. None seem better than here – and most seem a lot worse. Forget your own house on your land – unless you’re very affluent. For most middle-class Americans, relocating to Europe would mean a lifestyle that’s closer to working poor in terms of what you can afford when it comes to housing, vehicles, hobbies and so on. Living in a 900 sq. ft. apartment with a SmartCar or Moped outside doesn’t do much for me.

          • you’re in nola. katrina is out there, blotting out half the meterologist’s screen. how do you plead? nolo contendre sounds right, & alliterates well.

            the child is patria the wo/man. not the flood plain. i’d take what i could, which obviously could not include land, permanent improvements, but whatever i take, beyond me/mine, falls into the category “non-essential”.

            mises moseyed away from another flood plain in ’40, for example. relatively, in terms of non-essentials, amerika was a parched higher elevation for he & his. and yet, essential action enabled “human action”, in ’49, & much else besides.

          • Argentina? Nah. You don’t want to move to a socialist country that devalues its currency like women have that time of the month.

            Eric, I am becoming more convinced that the system counts on us to be passive worker serfs, always wanting that next toy on THEIR manufactured credit card, and paying “our fair share” to THEM by force. They count on us giving up and giving in, just like buying their new Lincoln INGSOC-mobile. When we say no it will crash under its own weight, totally powerless, like in Atlas Shrugged.

            We have had the spirit of this unique country mal-educated and media’d out of us by clever design, and only reeducating ourselves will fix it. The founding fathers were no dummies, they knew what tyranny and royal rule was all about.

            There are definitely pockets of resistance building, like the Free State Project and similar like minded local government takeovers, and it will only accelerate over time.

            • I’ve tried to orient my life such that I feed the beast minimally – and am as independent of it as feasible. I certainly live beneath my means – or rather, have done so for many years. Which was a smart move – because it has made it possible for me to weather this storm. I’ve still got a few important Agenda Items to tick off my list:

              Pond in the field – for livestock water source and fish source for us.

              Off-grid power source.

              But, we are already in pretty good shape in that we:

              Have no mortgage are debt-free.

              Live on enough acreage to provide ample food (already have chickens, enough that we can and do trade eggs, etc. for produce).

              Have our own water source (though it is electric dependent).

              Plus a few other things.

              If I had a do-over the main thing I’d have done differently would have been:

              Buy much more land in an even more rural area. 50-100 acres at least. Smaller house – with some, uh, special features….

        • Dear Brent,

          Yup. Technological workarounds can never be anything more than stopgap measures.

          Striking the root means addressing power and its abuse. Anything short of that is merely buying time.

          Those abusing the power they have acquired will invariably make every workaround illegal.

          That’s because those who seek power were never seeking “reasonable” solutions to begin with. They were seeking power for power’s sake all along.

          They are like sadistic inquisitors who will escalate their torture until their victims can no longer hold out against the pain.

          • Well although striking the root is the best solution, very often when a govt power oversteps its ability to police its draconian rules, and the public en masse effects a workaround, it becomes a scofflaw and although still active no one does anything about it. And then sometimes the rules changes by the pushback.

    • The drive-by-wire thing is really scary – because there may be no physical way to prevent the car from running amok.

      For instance, the new MKZ I have this week. The transmission gear selector is pushbutton – and entirely electronic. If hacked, you may not be able to take the transmission out of gear – into Neutral (or even Park) – in order to slow/stop it, in the even of runaway acceleration.

      The parking brake? It’s electric – and computer controlled – too.

    • New evaluation of the evidence indicates Hastings vehicle was traveling at a much slower speed and there was an explosion prior to impact.

    • “It appears that Mr. Hastings lost control of the car. Because some one else took control. By REMOTE CONTROL.”

      That’s one conclusion. I’ve read a few other analyses which support the conclusion that the car was simply “rocketed” and came to rest against the tree, which would explain the very minor damage to the tree trunk.

      BTW, “rocketed” means hit by a guided missile.

  17. Don’t expect the government to allow any entity to limit the speed on cars. Exceeding the Speed Limit makes too much money for the Insurance Companies, State and Local Governments and private companies (such as ATS) to allow this to happen.

    • I don’t know, Doug. I think maybe they would want the power more than the money. After all, they can print all the money they want, …or take it.

        • Alex Zoum, are you certain that Only the national gunvernment has the FED printing press at their disposal? Do you suppose The Fed purchases the bonds of other countries ( i recall reading something along those lines) or bonds of states and cities?

          Anyway, the national ginvernment can hand out cash directly to the states and cities; as well give it to individuals and organizations, to gin up the economy in their own destructive way.

          Additionally, the states and cities can impose new regulations, fees and taxes to make up for the reduction in the skimming they do in the automotive regulation arena.

          Why just the other day a farmer was telling me how it will be (or is now?) unlawful to sell food that was not grown under a cover of some type, or completely fenced in.

          Not only that, but no dogs will be allowed within One Mile of any food growing areas.

          Eventually, quite soon, bartering of food regulated by the state (or regulated by the Ag Dept. with the help of state level pheroes) will be forbidden.

          Lots of fine potential there for increased skimming.

          …And I didn’t even mention the asset forfeiture possibilities.

          Without boundaries, they expand.
          So long as ‘they’ define the boundaries, what’s to stop them?

          An economic crack-up Boom, combined with a change in The People’s perceptions, are the only things I see changing the current course. Slowly? Too slowly.

          • DownshiftFast5to1, points well taken. We really don’t know what the FED is doing with their funny money. And with what we do know, not much should surprise us.

            As the bankrupt national, state, and local gunvernments become more desperate so does their tyranny. You asked: So long as ‘they’ define the boundaries, what’s to stop them?

            Peacefully stop cooperating. As individuals of the minority group this has risks. Each of us has to decide for ourselves which risks to take. I believe that what is needed is not so much a change of perception but the acquisition of knowledge and the realization of the immorality of the current systems.

            What I have been doing is standing up for my rights where I feel the battle is worth the fight and trying to make others realize our situation. I believe that the best tact is to point out and or question the morality of the current systems. Ask statophiles, “if particular laws or programs are so good why do they require force to be adhered to?” Make them justify the violence.

        • Re: (Private) federal reserve bank printing all the money they want. Makes you wonder WHY uncle insist we pay taxes doesn’t it? If uncle truly wanted to “cut taxes for the middle class” why doesn’t uncle just up fed borrowing by a few % points and not tax anyone making under 80k a year, or not tax anyone period? Because, it ain’t about the money, its about the control. Ironically, the no tax, just print money would be a perfect thing for uncle, since uncle loves him some hidden taxes, and as we here all know, inflation is the biggest hidden tax us tax donkeys pay.

  18. Someone, somewhere, will come up with an interface to intercept the messages before they are transmitted out and replace them with messages that are within the safe zone.

    Time to buy some old cars and fix them up, but I’m assuming those will be outlawed soon enough.

    When the fuck are the masses going to wake up?

    • They won’t outlaw old cars. The insurance companies will just decline to cover them. Can’t drive w/o insurance you know.

      • I have a five speed Yaris. I stall out on my gravel driveway often. It’s so frustrating that my car fights me when I push the gas. As retarded as it sounds I can push the gas pedal to a full engine stall. Gotta love abs/traction control.

        • Every time I take the old TA out for a drive, I’m reminded how over-the-top/over-nannied – and simply personality-free – almost all new cars are.

          I even had fun tearing down the carb yesterday (ask Dom!) to dig out a piece of crud that had clogged one of the primary jets.

  19. I’m of two minds on where we’re headed with this tech. On the one hand, for most routine driving chores I’d love to have a self-driving car. Preferably something like a timeshare for automobiles, when I want one I just summon it for the day or the hour or whatever. On the other hand I can see how this tech will be abused by anyone who can get their grubby paws into the vehicles’ electronics. I could even see a world where you’re intentionally routed past businesses like fast food restaurants on the way home instead of most direct or fastest route, just to encourage you to make a detour through the drive-thru (yet another form of unwanted advertising).

    Maybe we’ll get lucky and it will be deployed in a free/non-Nazi country first.

    • Eric_G,
      I hadn’t even thought of that corporatocracy slant – the forced product placement, by detouring you through the Restaurant District.

      Perhaps we can talk Anonymous into hacking these systems en masse?
      Or maybe we’ll just find ways to 3D print missiles and rockets and ensure the POTUS doesn’t get to “drive” (More like ride) anywhere.

      But that might be too much to hope for.

    • ECU’s are often expensive, but if this gets too invasive I suspect the private sector will begin selling work-arounds.

      I believe we near a tipping point on numerous levels, all having to do with collective trust. Recent decades have seen people become foolishly, naively trusting of the “collective,” Rousseau’s “General Will” represented by political actions.

      So far, people are not taking the time to encrypt their emails for privacy, many are foolishly trusting Facebook and Google and their Cell Phone company with vast amounts of information.

      All we await is a change of season on this. Entrepreneurs will multiply like rabbits to give people ways to circumvent all these snares, once the default becomes mistrust, unless the nation goes Full Stalin (which I’ll admit is far from unlikely).

      • Lavabit closed down. So did Silent Circle.

        So the entrepreneurs are being targeted, too.

        Until we get a Tanglenet going (not sure how the concept worked, it was based on some sort of elemental-level quantum computing), we’ll be vulnerable. We’d need to do massive encryption routines, using “use once” cryptographic systems – and we’d need to make it a significant portion of the population, say 15% or more, with NO opt-out – make it a Trojan that infects Windows-based machines, say, and enforces the encryption. (In fact, that might make it virtually unbreakable.)
        Most people don’t care. (Myself included.) I haven’t even made black powder yet, let alone something truly destructive. Why bother? Risk not worth reward. If I wanted to blow up something (say a mailbox), I’d go buy an M-80, light the fuse, toss it in, laugh like a lunatic when the mailbox popped. If stupid, I don’t do it from a safe distance, and the shrapnel kills me. If I were smart, I wouldn’t bother in the first place – someone has to replace their mailbox, it’s unnecessary, and causes actual harm to another. No point.

        So what if they read my emails, texts, listen in on phone calls? It’s a waste of time for them.
        But the PRINCIPLE… THAT pisses me off. Just as I have no “right” to listen in to the Chief of Police’s call to his mistress, THEY have no right to listen to MY call to MY mistress. Nor read my pornographic texts, or my rage-filled emails, or anything else.
        Since they have shown they will NOT leave me alone? WTF else can you call that, but a declaration of war? They steal our earnings, mandate we buy products (at inflated prices), insinuate themselves into our daily dealings, make us self-censor what we say and how we say it – encourage our neighbors to spy on us, encourage the police to kill us and steal our children, MANDATE we send our children to government indoctrination centers…

        At what point do we realize what’s happening?

        For the majority? NEVER.
        So, FUCK’EM. Operation Meatshield can commence, I don’t give a f*ck who I need to harm at this point. (And being somewhat damaged, based on the cloverism of my parents and their actions towards me – sort of like a two-pronged “How to make a Beta Male” (http://www.returnofkings.com/10251/how-to-build-a-beta-male) – I’m not too picky about who is in the way. The Rabbits grow back every year… So too do the parasites in government.)

        Fishermen don’t feel sorry for the bait.
        Wolves don’t feel sorry for the lambs.
        If we are to fight the wolves, we cannot do so by singing, “Kumbyah” to change their hearts: We must de-claw and de-fang them, and FORCE them to live on vegetables.
        In other words, adopt their tactics.
        Force their hand.

        They will escalate.
        More will wake up.
        Cycle will continue.
        As popular war advances – peace is closer.

        It’s the historical prologue to, “The Hunger Games.” The one colony who rebelled, and was destroyed (nuked?).

        The path is set, the only question is, I’m sorry to say: Which side are you on?

        No reason to allow “us” into space unless “they” can control us.
        And when such chips are created, they’ll first be used to control violent criminals, and the criminally insane.
        Soon enough, those with guns will be seen as “violent” and/or “insane.” We’ll be “fixed.” Then, the chips will be inserted into children… “As a preventative measure.” “So they can find you in event of kidnapping.” Etc.

        Violence by proxy is not non-violent. And the mission creep ALWAYS occurs.
        Unless we act, SOON, it will be too late. And we cannot be a unified “movement” either – we need to be independent operators, each one a leader. A Gang system, maybe – 5-10 people at most in a geographic location. A Driver, Spotter, Sniper, Scout, some Bait or Distraction.

        “They” are preparing for this eventuality. Why else would there be Iraq and Afghanistan?
        Why won’t we prepare for it, too?

  20. This brings up another possibility. Here in Oz we have a strong greens party. Most houses now have smart meters installed. New air cons for homes now have to have a remote so the government can turn it off if Govvy thinks you are using too much power from the grid, as on a hot day. This mykey system (such a misname) should be called govkey. This would allow govvy to keep old people from driving their cars, such as going to a shopping center on a hot day to get relief from the AC they can no longer operate at home due to excessively high power costs. Our greens party considers all people over 50 to be expendable, and desires a society with a maximum age of 50. Think I’m crazy, listen to them talk on tv, radio or print. They simply hate human beings, and want to make life more difficult for everyone but themselves. Their philosophy is on their website, and becomes more apparent by their actions. That’s why they love all this new technology. Don’t be fooled by their environmental concerns because their actions cause more damage to the environment than even BP can do.

    • This is what the global warming folks have been pitching all along. Instead of coming up with a solution that will actually fix the problem, we’re presented with guilt and austerity. It’s not Dear Leader’s fault that global warming is happening, it’s ours. We, with our hedonistic lifestyles based on electric motors and Nichrome heating elements (and desire to live past age 70) are to blame. The only solution is to control you, to keep you from consuming too much. It’s only fair after all.

      But if we all pitch in and do our part, Dear Leader will be able to maintain his well-deserved lifestyle. He needs to travel in a 747 and a tank-like limousine, because there are those out there who would harm Dear Leader, and we all need to sacrifice to keep him safe.

      But there’s hope! For Dear Leader is proposing transit solutions for all of us, starting in California. Yes, the “high speed” trains will be expensive, and will use even more precious power (at a time when baseload electricity production is dropping), but it will be the answer for all of us (as long as we are going where and when it is going). Sure, it won’t be as fast as it could be, or as efficient as it should be, but as long as you (not Dear Leader) rides it, Dear Leader will be able to travel the nation’s highways the way they were intended to be.

      • You don’t mean the 9 billion (and counting) money pit for high speed to nowhere? Madera to Bakersfield, and the greenies can’t even figure out how to build that leg on level ground, much less all the way to San Diego. No train for me to ride on in my lifetime, unless I go to China. But they are happy to take the money for it.

        • exactly. and through eminent domain they are buying up huge swaths of prime farm land in the central valley for this boondoggle. They dont care about the train to nowhere. Their goal is to stop the farming and water usage for crops and a side benefit is billions of tax dolalrs to their connected contractor friends and union construction jobs.

          • Think about what would happen to you if you’re riding the bullet train going 700 mph, and the line is severed by the next “Big One” on the San Andreas fault. Can you say “pink mist”?


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