“Your” Car? Not So Much…

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The government wants to control your car – how it’s made, what it comes equipped with and (of course) how you’re allowed to drive it. Now comes the other half of the pincers:DMCA lead

The car companies want to prevent you from working on the thing.

Modifications – performance enhancements – and even routine maintenance are to become illegal via the application (and enforcement) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to cars.   

They are claiming propriety rights to the software embedded in the computer – technically, the Electronic Control Unit or ECU – that pretty much runs a modern car.   They claim – and you knew this was coming, right? – that saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety is threatened by people doing their own maintenance or tweaking/tuning as such might affect how the various saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety systems embedded in the car and controlled by the ECU operate.

A blind stroke victim ought to have seen this coming.

Cars, claim the car companies, are mobile computing devices – you know, like sail fawns – and so fall under the aegis of the DMCA. Have a read:

“Automobiles are inherently mobile, and increasingly they contain equipment that would commonly be considered computing devices… Many of the ECUs embodied in today’s motor vehicles are carefully calibrated to satisfy federal or state regulatory requirements with respect to emissions control, fuel economy, or vehicle safety. Allowing vehicle owners to add and remove programs at whim is highly likely to take vehicles out of compliance with these requirements, rendering the operation or re-sale of the vehicle legally problematic. The decision to employ access controls to hinder unauthorized “tinkering” with these vital computer programs is necessary in order to protect the safety and security of drivers and passengers and to reduce the level of non-compliance with regulatory standards. We urge the Copyright Office to give full consideration to the impacts on critical national energy and environmental goals, as well as motor vehicle safety, in its decision on this proposed exemption. Since the record on this proposal contains no evidence regarding its applicability to or impact on motor vehicles, cars and trucks should be specifically excluded from any exemption that is recommended in this area.”

This statement (see here for the full text) was issued by the Auto Alliance – the great collective that speaketh for every major car company doing business in the United States, including Ford, GM, Mazda, Jaguar Land Rover, Toyota, VW/Audi, Mitsubishi, Mercedes, BMW and Volvo, et al.  DMCA 1

Note carefully the way that government edicts relating to saaaaaaaaaaaaafety (and emission and fuel efficiency) are now being turned outward, against the car owner. Heretofore, these mandates directly affected the car companies, who were forced to add, as an example, a (cue El Guapo) plethora of air bags to new vehicles, or direct injection and auto-stop/start (more recently) to eke out a fractional gain in MPGs in order to appease the federal government’s Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFE) fatwa.

But now, the wheel turns – and what’s been good for the goose (the industry) is going to be good for the gander (us), too. It’s a kind of vengeful lashing out, on the one hand. The industry – sick, probably, of taking these endless demands on the chin – with most consumers being engineering illiterates and just expecting cars to become ever saaaaaaaaaaaafer, ever more fuel efficient, by decree.

Just – cue Captain Picard – make it so.

Well, no.

It takes a lot of brain sweat to figure out how to – for example – maintain the capability to get to 60 MPH in less than 10 seconds while also averaging 35.5 MPG (next year’s CAFE fatwa). Let alone 50 MPG (the proposed CAFE fatwa for 2020). Let’s make the consumers feel our pain, they reasoned. Perhaps they will begin to ask questions and come to understand that there truly ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.DMCA lead 2

More likely, though, is that the perfect vehicle for exercising complete control over “our” (air quotes) cars was conceived – and is now in the process of being born. It is genius, really. You have to admire it.

First, establish the principle in law that the government’s job is to be your parent – to protect you from yourself. From theoretical risk, as defined by government. You might wreck your car. If you do, an air bag might save your life (it might also gouge out one of your eyes, but that’s a mere incidental). Ergo, government has the right to require that you buy a car equipped with an air bag.

Because the government is your Mommy.

And now – drum roll, please – government (egged on by the car companies, which are big cartels and becoming indistinguishable from the government) has the right to criminalize any “meddling” by you with the car that could even theoretically compromise the saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety of the vehicle.

Or its emissions output.

Or its gas mileage.

It will be become an actionable offense to use more gas than you’re allowed. Notwithstanding you paid for it. High-flow injectors? A conical air filter? $500 fine. Or maybe they just seize the car.

Or, just turn it off – remotely.

None of this is new, by the way. For decades, it has been illegal in California and some other states to “modify or alter” any drivetrain (the engine) components that affect emissions output. Even if emissions themselves are not affected at all. Or affected for the better. Ask someone who lives in California  about this. It is even illegal (in CA) to put a more modern (and less “emitting”) engine in an older vehicle, regardless of whether the newer engine’s tailpipe outpourings are less than those produced by the car’s original/factory engine. You could, however, file paperwork with an entity called the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and – maybe – get an exemption.DMCA lead 3

DMCA will close that “loophole” – and do it nationally.

What’s been implicit for a long time in American politics and law is becoming quite explicit:

We don’t own anything anymore.    

The government does.

What does it mean to own something? Is it your name on a piece of paper? Renters also have their names on a piece of paper. It is called a lease. You are allowed temporary and conditional use of the property.

We are all renters now.

Your home is a rental – whether you’ve got a mortgage or not. You pay rent in perpetuity to the county/state in the form of property tax. If you decline to pay the rent, you will find out in short order who truly does own “your” home.

DMCA will apply the principle to “our” cars, too. You will make the payments – but you will only be allowed to use the car as decreed. And the enforcement mechanism is already in place.data recorder

It is already in the car.

Every new car not only has an ECU, it also has the capability to be accessed electronically without your knowledge or consent. Check Family Fare Ad and Fareway Ad. If it has a system such as GM’s OnStar (and other automakers have similar systems now) your car can have a furtive conversation with the car company that built it – or the government – which (again) increasingly amounts to the same thing.

They see you when you’re sleeping, the know when you’re awake, they know if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake…

Or else.

The “or else” being they’ll simply shut you down once alerted. Once the car narcs you out.

In the same of saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety.

It calls to mind a famous epitaph, that of novelist H.G. Wells:

Goddamn you all: I told you so.

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    • Hi Chef,

      It depends on how often you take a ride – and the cost of that ride!

      My truck – paid for in cash (used) back in 2007 is effectively free transpo – and transpo on call. I don’t have to wait – or mooch. I can just get in an go. When someone else is driving – or you’re ride sharing – you are on their schedule, as well as their nickel.

  1. A little off subject, but not too far. I wanted to write about the stupid idea/gadgets being put on new cars:
    1. Of course anybody with half a brain knows what an immensely stupid idea it is to shut down an engine while idling, then quickly restart it when pressing the accelerator. I think I have an idea that is easier/smarter/simpler/efficient-er/better-er (which of course means it won’t ever be considered) which is to work thru the auto tranny instead of the engine. My idea is for the car to be placed into neutral whenever the accelerator is not being pressed, and quickly placing the car back in gear whenever accelerator is pressed, thus allowing car to coast freely instead of being slowed down by the car remaining in gear. This would be a much better fuel saver, easier to implement, and not hard on mechanisms.
    2. I REALLY hate how they have changed auto gear shifts to where you have to push the unlock button on the gear shift to go to neutral from drive. Previously cars were made where you could freely shift back and forth between drive and neutral without having to push the gearshift unlock button, and therefore have no worry of accidentally shifting into Reverse or Low. Super stupid Nanny-State change.
    3. Also, as mentioned before, touch screen controls are a hundred times more difficult to use than simple twist, pull, and push knobs and buttons. This is one place where hi-tech really falters.

    • Charlie,
      What is to keep the state from accessing your driving data, GPS included, to automatically send a traffic ticket when your vehicle exceeds a posted speed limit? Wait for it….

      The other minor outrages you cite won’t matter much after they suspend your license.

  2. LAPD aggressive driving detail

    Parked beside a Granada Hills road and its handcuffed driver, the Toyota Supra sat with its big modified exhaust hanging just above the ground, like a dog with its tail between its legs.

    “Remember me?” Officer Will Durr said to the driver — an embarrassed college student he’d pulled over days before in the same illegally modified car.

    Durr grinned as he stood beneath the car’s popped hood, ogling the turbo-charged engine, shining his flashlight over the modified air intake that allowed the vehicle to breathe in more power-giving air.

    Like the other officers in the Los Angeles Police Department’s Aggressive Driving Detail, Durr is trying to put the brakes on illegal street racing, one vehicle code violation at a time.

    • Assholes! I got in on the end by some friends who told me about these things(I go into a store, go to what I want or need and buy it, not being a “shopper”)too late I suppose. When I went specifically to look for their generic cup without coffee, there weren’t any. BFD, so I’ll continue to boil my 2 cups of water, pour it into my 2 cup jar with my fresh grind of my choice as I have done for years.

      Once again I found myself telling a big company, KMA. BTW, there are health benefits of boiled and unboiled coffee. I like my coffee with boiling water poured into it just fine. I would say I’m not a coffee snob but that’s a lie. I dislike Columbian coffee and anything that has some crap added to it. My fav is Papua New Guinea but it’s hard to find near me. I normally drink S. American grown indica….uh, I mean Arabica. My jar and filter don’t seem to have a preference.

      • I think there’s work arounds for some of it at least.

        It seems all the kids are on meerkat and periscope now. I think you just need to download an app to be a part of it. Send livestreams, and have up to 5000 people watch your livestream. It’s all free.

        If you have a desktop, you can watch the stream using twitter. I don’t think you can send video and sound though.

        If there’s anyone here that’s used either of these. You could help Eric get up to speed and he can do live podcasts without all the muss and fuss those podcast things usually entail.

        Grandmas smoking weed for first time

  3. Albrecht Dürer Monogram

    AD’s 1511 colophon to “Life of the Virgin:”

    “Hold! You crafty ones, strangers to work, and pilferers of other men’s brains. Think not rashly to lay your thievish hands upon my works.

    Beware! Know you not that I have a grant from the most glorious Emperor Maximillian, that not one throughout the imperial dominion shall be allowed to print or sell fictitious imitations of these engravings?

    Listen! And bear in mind that if you do so, through spite or through covetousness, not only will your goods be confiscated, but your bodies also placed in mortal danger.”
    – – –

    Dürer added this out of anger at the copyist Marcantonio Raimondi, who made a line-for-line copies of Dürer’s work.

    Dürer obtained an injunction, but only against the use of Albrecht’s well-known “AD”insignia. Raimondi’s prints were legal under “fair abridgement” since the normal practice was to summarize and simplify works made for the aristocracy for those of the lower classes, rather than replicate them wholesale.

    Raimondi’s duplicates sold for the same price as Dürer’s and with Dürer’s insignia, they could easily fool the public as to the source of the print.

    Raimondi was not just a thieving scoundrel; he worked with famous artists on creating authorized prints.

    He and other, less-skilled print makers who sold their mass-produced versions served to acquaint the general public with works that were otherwise limited to the wealthy, including the church.

    Many prints made creative changes in the originator’s works, and it should be noted that it was quite late in the copyright game that such alterations were deemed infringing, in the U.S. perhaps as late as 1909: the English common law doctrine of “fair abridgment” thrived in the U.S. well into the mid-to late 1800s.

    • Hi Steve,

      I’d argue it’s not government gone wild – it is the natural, to-be-expected end result of this business of being “governed.” Once that principle is accepted it will inevitably be expanded.

      The solution?

      Throw the idea of “governing” people in the woods!

      • eric, or put in another way: “”The most unresolved problem of the day is precisely
        the problem that concerned the founders of this nation:
        how to limit the scope and power of government.
        Tyranny, restrictions on human freedom,
        come primarily from governmental restrictions
        that we ourselves have set up.”
        — Milton Friedman”

        And when he say “we”, I consider that accurate in that “we” were brainwashed to some extent starting from birth. “We” voted as instructed, being told it was our “duty” and a person had no gripes as long as he didn’t vote.

        Without total collapse of the society and govt. I see no way out except to vote…..just not for the flip side of the Republicrat, Demopublican coin.

        “We’re” trying to avoid doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

        I realize philosophically that not voting at all denies anyone having any power over you but that’s not true in reality. It just means you gave up on trying to ameliorate the situation. While there is no perfect govt., we have zero chance of that happening(no govt.)……unless a 15km asteroid impacts the earth or maybe several of them or the Ring of Fire goes off as one.

        • 8 – at some point there will be a total collapse of the gunvermin due to its inability to make good on its promises re: Socialist Insecurity and Med-I-don’t-Care.
          Whether that will also result in the collapse of society remains to be seen. I admit the odds point that way, but it would not have to be so. There would definitely be a period of unrest as people learned to cooperate w/each other w/o the force of gunvermin.

          • Rat mazes come, rat mazes go. Most of what is discussed here is:

            1 Pining away for the mazes of old we remember from earlier days.

            2 Removing a few walls in the maze.

            3 Adding a better selection and greater quantity of prizes: cheese, peanut butter, fruits, seeds, candies, nuts and so on.

            4 Creating more entries and exit. This is my favorite topic such as mazes go.
            = =

            All of these are important, for sure. When we don’t know or trust each other, we’re unwilling to abandon the maze construct, it’s what feels normal. Who’s to say its not?

            – – –

            5 This notion of governing each other while in these mazes, that to me IS heinous and galling to be sure.

            What sane man would stand for hearing the words make it so and then actually delight making it so? Only a sniveling slave could abide this.
            — — —

            Captain Picard is the seen face of the maze governor in our lives. The unseen true face is the Borg drone: Locutus. The unspoken part of “Make It So!” is that it is your duty. That to resist this duty is futile.

            That’s how I see it anyways, maybe I’m alone in this. To govern a man means to steer, to pilot him. It’s a nautical borrowing that appears in latin and all romance languages and is from the Greek – kybernan – which is “to steer or pilot a ship. to direct as a pilot.

            This same word is also the root of the word: cybernetics.

            The thing about living in a maze is – you don’t have to take it to heart. You can just live a full life inside the thing despite all the scurrying rats.

            If you surround yourself with the right sort, you’ll find you have someone who’ll bring you sustenance from the maze, and you won’t have to run the corridors yourself at all.

            • “If you surround yourself with the right sort, you’ll find you have someone who’ll bring you sustenance from the maze, and you won’t have to run the corridors yourself at all.”

              Is that not what Government does…?

              • Guilty! I share much in common with the worst sort of authoritarian, but my allowing you to opt out of the relationship peacefully, makes me merely an a**hole.

                I can’t understand the mindset that takes pride in running the maze the way our captors intended. What a clover sucker loser mentality.

                I try to be a wise guy outta goodfellas, except with no violence, and no taking from anybody that doesn’t deserve it. Or at least, don’t take from a little guy who can’t afford it, or from anybody who’s vulnerable and may suffer in some way from your superior sharpness.

                Taking from the government. Taking from the cronies. From the fancy billionaires who hate their fellow man is a badge of honor in my book.

                For as long as I can remember I always wanted to be a adherent gangster. I already had the silver spoons, and the brilliant accomplished kin. I wanted to be something contrarian. To me, being a beloved self-serving and friend-serving Robin Hooding gangster was better than being president of the United States. To be a peaceful gangster was to own a little piece of the world.

                I’m the kinda guy that usually roots for the bad guys in the movies. Except for the shootouts which are useless.

                I’d love to see a leftist Bix Noodian revolution if it could be bloodless, but only one where the property of governors, oppressors, and prohibitionists have their wealth taken from them by large dark mobs of proles who want only to eat drink and be merry.

                I’m all for conserving and building wealth. I’m a lower caste guy, not part of the disciplined orderly aristocracy. They have more and deserve more. They make better sense and are sought for counsel, few seek my crazyisms. I get that.

                But as to those at the top who hate simpler people still grounded in their natural animal nature, in my eyes, they deserve whatever is coming to them.

                Bix Noodists who want only to enjoy things, and not use their capital to make everybody else miserable and compliant with their prejudices. I’m on their side. They shield me today. In the future, I hope they shall overcome and get free.

          • PtB, while you may be correct, it won’t happen in my lifetime. The sheeple continue to bleat and are happy as long as they have their Big Gulp and their HFCS(oops, I repeat myself)and chemical laden faux food. On the up side though, it spells the demise of the “advanced” societies which seem to be the worst of big govt. supporters.

            I watched several children, adolescents technically I suppose, make their way from the convenience store where I was gassing up the pickup. On the up side, blacks, whites and Hispanics all seemed to get along fine(you must remember this is a very rural area)and that’s good. They’ll need to get along when they’re 40 and all going to the same clinics for various treatments to keep them alive simply because they are so obese.

            I see large corporations as self-fulfilling prophecies in the same way a tick infestation kills off its host and therefore itself. Govt. is the same thing and it will find itself unable to find enough hosts to support it.

            I sometimes use a line from the movie Fight Club and no one gets it. When I try to explain if anyone is interested, they act like I just pissed on their oatmeal to mention Fight Club, a movie they have never seen. I suppose they can’t get past the name. I think it’s one of the greats……which reminds me, I need to order a copy since I haven’t seen it in years.

          • I could have used that at one time. Now I’m just concentrating on getting a tiny pocket on the inside of all my waistbands that’s just big enough for a handcuff key. Decided the Zac tool that fits in my shirt pocket would be noticeable.

  4. Some points to consider.

    1 Labor has struggled to be treated fairly and equitably for thousands of years. Eric is fighting as a member of labor.
    2 Property rights in unique written works is an owner/capitalist struggle. Eric is fighting to not be dispossessed of his capital by a more powerful kind of capitalist who control publishing and distribution. These media moguls use the masses as useful idiots in order to win a war of control by enabling easy access to Eric and other author’s valuable private property.

    Libertarian Class Analysis

    3 This isn’t an ivory tower debate of scholarship. Getting paid for your work is a bloody knuckled busted kneecap sruggle in the real world. Go ahead and stop by the farm and tell Eric to his face you’ve posted his book online. Be sure to bring your orthodontist along so you can save some of your teeth.

    4 This isn’t a dialectic struggle with one of two outcomes. Eric is arguing from his specific circumstance, which he is well within his rights to do. Telling him what he needs to do is like lecturing a bird on how to fly.

    He knows all too well what it takes to get paid in publishing, and that is what he’s discussing. He’s not debating Left Libertarian party platform talking points. This is his F-ing survival he’s discussing.

    I don’t believe anyone who makes a living as an author buys into Kinsella’s arguments and leftist ideas. J Neil Shulman. L Neil Smith. Ayn Rand. Maybe I’m missing someone, but no one comes to mind.

    5 Property rights are whatever you’re willing and able to effectively defend. The customs and norms flow from what actually happens in reality over many events. There is no top down consensus that dictates reality. That is the way of statists, superstitious theists, and racial nationalists and tribalists.

  5. big auto gov’t removed public transportation, forcing people to buy and maintain personal autos. the same are forcing people to buy into public transportation system again only this time we have to buy and maintain their system privately.

    • “public” transportation was not removed by auto companies. Transit companies were crony capitalist businesses that either failed or were taken over by government. This was because their special relationship with government had run its course where political pressures forced price below cost and new disruptive competition arrived.

    • Hi Patrick,

      This is an oldie but not a goodie.

      What happened was that cars evolved from being uneconomic and expensive to more economic and less expensive than “public” (that is, government) transportation – as well as allowing much greater freedom of movement. The Model T and subsequent cars enabled the average person to routinely travel distances previously inconceivable and exotic – and for the rich only.

    • Patrick – did you get that from the story line about the Red Car in ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’?

  6. Environmentalist are responsible for this. And so are you for believing them so much. Now look, they want you all to be orderly nerds like them and drive your electric car in a responsible girlie manner.

  7. Some rich Silicon Valley philanthropist needs to sponsor and come out with a GNU car. One with completely non-proprietary hardware and open source code. All fully documented. Think of it as the 21st century Volks Wagon.

    • THE BOTTOM line here is they don’t want you to have your own car,your to independant of them,they can’t control your every move.THESE PEOPLE WHO RUN the california air resources board ARE ALL BOUGHT AND PAID FOR “TERRORISTS”,stop by their office take pictures of them,THE day will come when the TREASON TRIALS WILL BEGIN,now we wouldn’t want them to miss out on that would we…………….

  8. “There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary public interest.

    This strange doctrine is not supported by statute nor common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back, for their private benefit.”

    Robert Heinlein. The Past Thru Tomorrow. 1967. “Life-Line” (p. 25)

  9. This nonsense is like those ridiculous EULA (End User License Agreements) on software you “buy” but do not “own.” These automakers and “alliances”, along with the gubbermint can stick their collective asses where the sun don’t shine. Until people realize that they are giving up their power as sovereign human beings, this crap will continue.

  10. Hi Eric. I am certainly onside with your position on ownership rights, but I do not believe that you can win from such a position. The legal person commonly known as owner is objectively schizophrenic and cannot be properly understood without taking such into account.

    Most anything of substantial value as chattel or things (basically anything important enough to put a serial number on) has inherently two titles associated with it – a legal title and a use-title (“Yoose” like moose).

    A (merely apparent) common example is as with a leased automobile. The leasing company retains the legal title, while the lessor or renter obtains the use-title, which includes certain restrictions and terms and conditions of the use(s) to which the vehicle may be put.

    The legal title is at least a constructive financial security, while the use-title may range from the explicit, as under an automobile leasing contract, to more purely constructive (e.g., unstated/informal rules governing the use of a shopping cart in a supermarket).

    So that is the basics of it (in theory), but in fact/practice the state becomes the holder of the legal title upon first registration of a new vehicle, represented by the MCO or Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin (or by whatever name).

    This is where they will derail your position, which is premised on a belief that you represent a convergence of the legal and equitable titles as owner/possessor of both. You bought and paid for the car and so are prima facie the holder of the legal title and you have possession of it and therefore control of the use title.

    But in law you are no longer the holder of the legal title if the car has ever been registered to the state. At that point (first registration) the legal title (MCO) passes to the state and the registrant is substituted a Certificate of Title constituting legal evidence (cross-confirming) that they are not (or are no longer) the holder of the legal title.

    The state then employs the MCO’s in various capacities as financial securities. It is important to understand that the legal title is an asset in its own right and with a financial value that does not depend on any legal or actual ability to seize or otherwise recover the thing or chattel that it represents.

    To then look at a more complicated example to demonstrate structure in more detail, consider an automobile rented from a car-rental-business, that acquired it as part of a fleet lease from an otherwise unrelated leasing company, that acquired it as part of a fleet purchase directly from the manufacturer.

    Upon first registration the MCO/legal-title passes to the state government in exchange for licence plates, while the leasing company retains the use-title by possession (of the car). The leasing company sub-leases the use-title to the car rental company. And the car rental company then sub-sub-leases/rents the same use-title to the end user/customer.

    A close parallel is what are called bailments and bailee’s undertakings. In the expanded example, the automobile is the bailment, where the legal title remains (or would remain) vested in the leasing company, and the terms of the use-title (bailee’s undertaking) would be covered by its contract with the car rental company as bailee, with sub-bailee’s undertakings between the car rental company and its end-user customers.

    So, regardless, in the eyes of the state you are in fact driving the state’s car to the extent that it is the holder of the legal title to it. Actually you become bound by the terms of the state highway traffic act (by whatever name) at the moment the MCO is first exchanged for the state-issued Certificate of Title and/or licence plates, even if the state later ceases to be the holder of it.

    You also have, in their eyes, co-joinder with the highway traffic act(s) when you become a licensed driver in the state. Either way, when a nominal police officer pulls you over on the highway, they do so in material reliance on the state’s asserted right to demand to inspect the state’s property at any time it is being operated on a public highway. When you argue with them about the right of free travel on the public highways it just makes them mad because you are travelling in one of the state’s cars with a clear jurisdiction marker (state-issued licence plate) which brings the operator within the private/contract rules, including the obligation to cheerfully submit to whatever they tell you to do.

    A quick and easy test is to consider a vehicle passing you on the highway at a high rate of speed (definitely over posted limit), but also bearing valid diplomatic licence plates. Does the local highway patrol have jurisdiction to pull it over, and/or do they do so in practice? The short answer to both questions is no. That is essentially the point of having/issuing diplomatic licence plates.

    So we know with relatively certainty that if the local highway patrol would pull over the same vehicle in the same situation without such diplomatic plates, and bearing only ordinary state plates, then the officer must believe that his or her jurisdiction is through the licence plate.

    So when the bureaucratic mind informs you that the reason for the state intrusion is safety, it does so from an entrenched belief and understanding that the thing at issue really is the property of the state, and that your resistance constitutes a wrongful interference in the state’s property rights.

    Now, and regardless, an underlying fraudulent act occurs when the state obtains the MCO from the purchaser without informed consent nor just compensation. It is a form of double-whammy bait and switch where you surrender something of real and substantial financial value (the MCO) in exchange for the privilege of making yourself subservient under a different contract (as a licenced-vehicle-owner).

    A larger socioeconomic fraud occurs by the objective failure of the state to openly state and emphasize the fact of its reliance on the realities just discussed, because to do so would be to disclose the futility of fighting them on their own philosophical turf. It is like arguing to a referee that the rule he is enforcing is not fair with the referee getting increasingly frustrated with the player’s lack of knowledge of the rules. If people generally understood that they were making themselves legally subservient by registering their vehicles, they would quickly ask “Then how do we change that?”. That’s what they don’t want us thinking about.

    But the oligarch mindset will respond that the MCO’s are only financial assets in their system because they have chosen to make them so. To the vehicle purchaser they are mere pieces of paper and they are not therefore entitled to any financial compensation.

    But it is the purchasers who perform the labour and other productive activities that give rise to the production of the things purchased.

    • Another fine example of how gunvermin unnecessarily complicate things and just claim by fiat ‘rights’ that are not necessarily so.

    • Timothy, I find your argument fascinating and informative. If, as you say, the MCO belongs to the first state entity that accepts it, what happens in the case of a person who goes to Germany, for instance, and buys a BMW, paying cash for it there, and then bringing it back to the states?

      • Hi. Thanks! I am not entirely certain but I think that the MCO follows the new vehicle until the first time it is registered, which in this case would be when the car arrives in the US. I don’t think that the BMW dealership in Germany would transmit it to the German government. I also suspect that the lack of an MCO would prevent a dealer from selling it as an untitled (new) vehicle.

        The MCO’s are evidence of certain industrial output and are used as limiting factors in the larger financial/banking system. There has to be a way to limit the amount of credit that a given national banking system can issue, and this is accomplished in part through the issuance and financial assessment of birth certificates and long term industrial output in a given country.

        That is one larger application but the MCO’s are also used more directly as financial securities under the IMF program called Special Drawing Rights (SDR’s). A given country may be given greater or lesser partial rates on SDR credits spent on new vehicles as evidenced by the automobile MCO’s, than on, say, farm machinery (different form of MCO) and so forth.

        In practice most new car registrations are coordinated by the selling dealership and the MCO is normally transmitted by them to the registrar without the new owner’s knowledge in fact (although they legally agree to it in the fine print).

        The real problem remains that none of these broadly-defined social contracts are valid if they have been obtained by coercion or deceit, including and especially concealment or non disclosure of essential and material provisions.

    • This whole story/explanation/justification is largely irrelevant. It comes down to “The strong do what they will & the weak suffer what they must.”

      When guys with guns/uniforms/attitude/and the back up and protection of a larger group of guys with guns forces you to the side of the road and points a gun at you, all the legal/constitutional/philosophical arguments go out the window and we are left with the threat of violence to you and the rationalizations that will be offered and accepted (by the “just us” system) when you are shot dead if you resist.

  11. I think they want to cover their behinds in the event a modification causes a bad accident.

    Can we start an “open source” software movement for the ECM modules?

    Or maybe just disable the wireless access that allows the authorities to shut down the car remotely?

  12. If they even dream of doing something like this then we need to boycott all car companies until they bleed to death . keep your cars and buy used from that point on.

  13. Sure, in an ideal world, I’d like us each to remove each others implants and unplug ourselves from the American Borg Collective. But until that happens, I also have to make a living.

    My review of Assimilation Protocol 4637J we spoke of earlier, titled “Assimilation Atrocities” is my own unique intellectual property.

    If you make a copy of it while I’m in my pod regenerating without my express written consent, you are a coward and an immoral drone bastard.

    Sure, I’ve allowed myself to be assimilated by the ruthless Starfleet Western Collective. As have you all, so SHUT UP WESLEY!

    But I’m not here to discuss that right now.This is my assigned wing of Borg Cube USA1776GN0MESAY1N and I want to laser in on your immoral reproduction of my unique individual labor. I envision an elite cadre of Borg working at my side also with impeccable morals. We’ll defer becoming fully human again to a later date.

    I’ll continue to do my part and pay my annual jizya tribute to Uncle Sam Allah AKbar that’s used to facestomp anyone who fails to comply and acknowledge that RESISTANCE IS FUTILE.

    But that isn’t what’s important to me. That’s not what drives me. What matters is that I’m my own man doing my own thing in my own fully paid for space in the Great Proud To Be An American Borg Collective. Where at least I know I’m free.

  14. Well what goes around comes around.

    In old Ireland-to the horror of Anglo-Saxons-cattle raiding was a national sport.

    Clan A would raid Clan B and drive away as many cows as they could. Clan B would then raid Clan C and do the same. Clan C would then raid Clan A.

    What this would do was maintain the breeding stock of cattle and prevent inbreeding.

    On the Internet: people expect stuff for free. People read your stuff without paying for it and you read other people’s stuff without paying for it. It should cancel out.

    So, the challenge is to figure out a way to paid for doing your work and to allow people to get it for free. An apparent contradiction? Hint: the national debt.

    • Hi Kerdasi,

      Th challenge, ultimately, is convincing people to do the right thing. Freely, without the cudgel of coercion. To elect not to take things. To exchange value for value.

      Online, subscriptions to media would work were it not for the current ease of copying/reproducing media.

        • Hi Phillip,

          Yes – agreed.

          But, the catch is that independent media won’t survive to replace it unless people choose to support what they read. We’ve done ok here, but it’s been a long, hard road. Because when you elect not to shill for Team Red or Team Blue, you lose out on the major funding sources that feed those beasts. Huffington Post (as an example) is huge because of the extremely deep pockets of Arianna Huffington (who screwed her ex out the money).

          I knew Joe Sobran a little (for those who remember him) and the dude literally went broke for writing about the untouchable subjects.

          For a web site with say 10,000 regular readers, funding ought to be no problem. If half the regulars in this example each chipped in $2 a month to support the site, the site would be taking enough in to pay all expenses associated with the site, including salaries for 2-3 full-time staff.

          The problem is that – typically – for every 10,000 people who regularly visit/read a web site in a month maybe 50-100 of them will support the site financially.

          That’s the tragedy – as I’ve written about before. Sites that have a large audience – which suggests that people get value out of the site – are often just barely able to meet their basic expenses and provide a small income for a single person who may be doing the work of 3-4 people.

          It’s not sustainable. Eventually, the well-funded crap will take over again. We’ll get an online version of the NYT.

          • This is going to be the next big problem with the Internet. Even Google knows that ad revenue isn’t going to last, not with click-through rates as low as they are. We live in a an advertising saturated world, one where our brains naturally filter them out after a time.

            What’s worse is that people don’t realize they aren’t paying for that “free” content. I’ll bet that if you ask a random sample of people they will tell you that they already pay for content by paying for Internet access. They fail to grasp that the monthly payment to the ISP is just to get the stuff delivered, not to actually produce, package and promote sites.

            Or, maybe they are all on Facebook and don’t bother with anything else.

  15. Classical music was not protected by copyrights. Seen many people publishing or performing Bach, Mozart and Chopin as if they had composed the music without identifying the masters? Fashions are not patentable. Has this killed the business of Ralph Lauren or his fellow designers? Recipes are not copyrightable. Is anyone still publishing recipe collections (cookbooks)? Most of the arguments of authors like Eric who fear that their creative works will be stolen (and rendered worthless thereby) are not based on reality, or on a serious study and contemplation of the debate over intellectual property. The idea that people with common respect for justice and property could not deal peaceably with all the ‘problems’ supposedly solved by government codification and enforcement of intellectual-property laws shows a lack of faith in freedom. Yet, Eric is quite sound on most issues. Perhaps consistency and cutting-edge knowledge in all areas is expecting far too much.

    • Hi Wilhelm,

      I am – first of all – not bellowing that “there ought to be a law!” I am attempting to make a moral argument that taking/reproducing the work product of others without their consent, without compensation, is an act of aggression and that the decent thing is not to commit acts of aggression.

      I do not “fear” that my creative work will be stolen. It is, in fact, stolen.

      I relate the above not as an amateur blogger but a professional writer and published author, who wrote (and published) before the Internet as well as after it became ubiquitous. I can speak, therefore, with some authority on this issue. About what’s changed.

      The mid and lower-tier of the publishing world has been eviscerated. Publishers can’t make any money selling books when people can simply acquire the work for free (via online media). Therefore, they are offering fewer and fewer paid contracts – and the dwindling number that do get paid, get paid less. Same goes for magazines. I used to get $2,000 (sometimes more) for a feature piece in a glossy magazine. Now, I’m lucky to get a $75 honorarium. Do you know why? It is because the moment a magazine article is published nowadays, people can read it for freeeeeeeee! Most do not buy the magazine. Ergo, the readership and ad revenue plummets. Ergo, the mag can’t afford to pay the writers. Or, for that matter, the editors.

      This is a predatory hollowing out. The value is created but uncompensated (or compensated to a much lesser degree).

      Musicians are in the same boat. It’s very hard to sell albums; and the money being made is a fraction of what a band or artist used to make. Why? Because people no longer have to buy the album to get the music. They can just “download” – that is, take – the song, without paying anything at all for it. Human vices being what they are, most people will do this. I have done it myself. But I recognize that I’ve in a very real sense taken something that’s not mine; that (to put it another way) would not have freely been given me, had the creator been asked to consent. Artists – writers and musicians – are viewed by all too many people as bohemians who do what they do for art’s sake. Nonsense. If that were the case, they’d only share their work with family and friends – or no one at all. Why not just write an article – or compose a song – for the pure personal satisfaction and then put it away?

      Like most people, writers and musicians do what they do because they have some talent for it and – thus – wish to make a living using that talent.

      By the way: Many of the classic masters you mention lived in poverty, or in constant threat of it. I do not consider this a good thing, much less a fair thing.

      • While I agree with most of what you say, Eric, the moral argument of “taking” by downloading music or finding copyrighted literary works on the Internet is not a black and white one.

        For example: I love, and have always loved the classic rock album “Who’s Next.” I bought a vinyl copy when I was in high school in 1972. Shortly thereafter, I bought a copy on 8 track so that I could listen to it in my old ’69 Camaro. Later, I paid for copies on cassette and CD in order to keep my music collection up to date with technology. Today I own the whole album digitally, and I still have the old 8-track somewhere in that vast archive of junk that is my attic.

        So here’s my point: If I were to somehow lose my digital copy of “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and managed to find it for free on the Internet, how would I be “stealing” it by downloading it? I’ve already paid for the same music at least seven or eight times!

        • Dan M, sounds a lot like my wife and I. We have multiple copies of the same album(they wore out). When someone says I have “x” on a CD, want a copy? Sure we do, and certainly don’t feel as if we’re taking anything from anybody. Or someone has a different recording by the same artist that we already have. I guess buying the entire album or CD for that song or songs might be construed as to thievery but we don’t think it is because we already have another version from the same artist. We traded records for decades and they were damned expensive. It’s probably more the recording companies who complain that the artists. Seems like the whole big brouhaha was started by Metal Likka as we call them, getting greedy, not having enough mansions or exotic cars or purely outrageously expensive parties that make THEIR PEERS jealous.

          • So envy is the basis of your libertarianism? Remember that when a rioter loots your business, you being much better off and all.

        • Now here’s rationalization of the first water. You didn’t have to buy a new recording of “Who’s Next” every time the technology changed. That was your choice.

          Thus, by your reasoning, since you’ve bought so many types of media for your album, the next time it comes out on a new medium you’re entitled to steal it? On the grounds that you’ve bought it several times previously?

          • @Ross:

            That depends on how you define what you’re actually purchasing when you buy it. Are you buying an overpriced piece of plastic that makes some noise when played back on the right equipment, or are you buying a license to listen to the music whenever and however you please? Since nobody buys a CD, tape or vinyl record for the materials themselves, I maintain that what is being purchased is a license to listen to the music.

            So yeah, I don’t see anything wrong with downloading music that I’ve already paid for. If you think that’s stealing, I guess that we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

      • I have heard, (and feel free to correct me if I have misunderstood. I know no one here is shy.) that the way things are now on the internet is actually to the advantage of most musicians. The ‘old’ system was great if you were big, like the Stones, etc. But even they got just pennies on the dollar from their recordings. The studios got most of the bux. But it created demand for their live concerts, which was where the band made out.
        Now, startups, that can’t get the time of day from a studio, set up a website and charge for downloads. It often doesn’t seem like much, but it’s probably more than they would be getting in royalties if they COULD get a contract. And they get exposure, w/o having to beg (or buy) DJs to give them air time.
        Writing may be (probably is) a different story. But it’s tough to figure out. Yes, it’s harder for someone like Eric, who has been published. But my niece, who no one outside a close circle knows from a hole in the ground, has a book on Amazon via Kindle and ‘Print on Demand.’ Of course she’s not trying to make a living at it. I’m glad it’s not my decision to make, apart from, as Eric says, doing the right thing myself.

  16. Fate “Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life son,”
    America “uhh”

    The nation is reaping what it has sown.

    • Good ole Dean Wormer!

      The actor who played Dean Wormer (John Vernon) had an awesome role in what I consider to be the film that best captures the superiority of anarchy, The Outlaw Josey Wales.

  17. Stephen Kinsella is a mouthpiece for thugs and the aristocracy. He has a JD from LSU and a Master of Laws from U of London. But what does any of that really do for anybody. He’s just the top dog who tells the sausage grinders what kind of sausages to grind out from all the victims of democide and financial terrorisms.

    To be fair, he has a nice hobby and has done a lot of nice things to foster libertarianism and freethinking. But he is an institutional man to the core, and as an individualist, institutions are my sworn enemies.

    At least Eric might build or maintain something. Or bring produce to the market in some small measure. Or write something private parties will pay him with true value exchanged, and not imaginary federal reserves bits and bytes.

    Kinsella has proven nothing to nobody of importance. He’s a bureacratic dung beetle proudly strutting about on his own mountain of dung. But none of us need give a crap about any of it. I care about him only so far as anyone can make me care. Which is to say, not one bit.

    I have read many works of his. He’s OK but in no way essential.

    Whatever Eric is, populist, Mid Atlantic traditionalist antebellum folksy southern gentleman. Doesn’t change the important issue.

    If we reject the current IP system, which I have no problem doing, then what. What remains when the Erics and small fish niche mavericks are gone. Do we all nod our heads and read whatever Misesmart churns out, with have no way to be a part of the conversation with the usual open access of the internet no holds barred forums. Don’t we all become powerless consumers with only a few giants to choose from.

    Kinsella offers me no forum to write as I please. He is just one more host of the shell game. Another functionary where each of us can fill in the blanks of the forms those in power give us to fill out. Kinsella lets you play the same sterile parlor games that no one really benefits from.

    He is another way to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic, while everything around us continues to go underwater.

    Ideally a ledger is kept somewhere. Every welfare queen has an itemized list of everything she’s received, and someone is at work finding ways for her to start contributing in some way or another.

    Every theft and copying is noted. And a debt still exists for whatever the value of it really is. To those from whom things were taken.

    Not the artificial retail price. But the real price, without all the authoritarian middlemen that run up the cost of everything into exorbitant chaos, where no one can achieve solvency for long.

    There’s a cold war being waged. Every restaurant has the rack of newspapers, and the patrons read the news for free. That’s how it started. Now its rampant on the internet as well.

    What would be better is a simple means of honor and dignity for every single person. Where I believe Eric errs, is in saying there is some class of “Bad actors” that must be identified and shunned.

    This never works. You can’t have huge masses of people outside of the system and left out in the cold. Sooner and not later they collude and they redouble their efforts to loot and get their way despite your wishes. The worst always get on top, as Hayek says.

    The old way of doing the right thing and treating others right until they go wrong doesn’t get you very far anymore.

    There’s too many actors pulling too many tricks and schemes, such that for every nest, there’s a thousand cuckoo birds waiting in the wings to pounce in there, eject your eggs, and lay their own in your stead.

    The solution is probably to create a working environment for all birds. Cuckoos. Vultures. Robins. Crows. and so on. The owls have to be wise enough to deal with the entire spectrum. They can’t just wish the lesser birds to behave better and expect this to magically occur.

    Smash the bird feeders. And learn to see the decoys. Stop being a birdbrain. Your a wise old owl who is more than wise enough. Spread your wings and fly into the brave new world of longwinded aviary cliches. Good times.

  18. In regards to automobiles, the only time the DMCA should apply would be to those who are fabricating “bootleg” ECUs–NOT to those who are modifying WHAT THEY ALREADY OWN. I don’t buy this “software licensing” crap. The ECU is a physical device that belongs to the car owner. I can do whatever I want to it…It’s MINE!

    • I agree Anarchyst,
      I have always wondered why some things become property by mere thought while other things involving labor including problem solving (thought) merely deserves a temporary hourly pay. A mechanic who solves a complex electrical wiring issue by thinking and trying different things pay ends once the vehicle is repaired. An artist thinks about a new song or something, and gets paid for many years.
      What if each worker at a car factory got paid a little money each time every car that he helped to build got used for the life of the car? What if the can opener company got paid every time you used it’s device? What if a cop got paid based upon the crimes and problems that he claimed to save you from? Are these outrageous ideas? How is this more outrageous than the idea of charging money for so-called intellectual property? I have also created very good solutions to problems and entire complex designs in my head; yet no pay is forthcoming and I expect none. I think that the best solutions in these cases is to let the people know what you have done, and perhaps they will donate money to you. If they do; you should at least acknowledge it so that the donor knows that you have noticed.

      • Hi Brian,

        I think – I’d argue – that a distinction exists between a thought/idea and something actually created.

        I agree that not only is it possible that more than person may have the same or a very similar idea at the same time; it’s likely. Moreover, it’s hard to demonstrated who had the thought first. An idea or thought is also often something that just arises spontaneously.

        It is inherently intangible.

        But something that is actually created – a tangible product of creative work (or just work, generally) – seems to me to fall into a different category because it would not exist without the creative work of a specific individual. My books, for example. They only exist because I sat in front of a keyboard and spent several months writing them. They are the tangible result of my talent and creativity, my work. I therefore have a valid claim to ownership, I think.

  19. The other reason for all this is a simple money grab. Look for certification classes much like Cisco and Juniper do with network gear today. If you’re a mechanic you might get your employer to pay for the certification classes, but I’m sure most shops will start expecting to see the cert on your resume´.

    And since they don’t want you meddling with the settings, look for more encryption on the OBD2 connector and CANBUS. They’ll be happy to sell qualified individuals and shops their diagnostic software (which of course will be the worst crap ever) though.

    Everybody wins! Except for the consumer, but what do they know anyway?

  20. This is not directed toward any particular person here, but I told you so. Given the ovine character of the American people and the natural urge of government to increase its power, this latest squeezing of the people into an ever-smaller cage was entirely predictable.

    One thing not mentioned above is the desire of the car companies to make more money. Hinder anybody working on his car except an authorized company tech, and you just opened a vat of gravy for the manufacturer. Granted that the government is responsible for much of the current digitization of the automobile, the fact that the auto makers are playing along and even encouraging the trend reminds me of Irving Kristol’s “Two Cheers for Capitalism”–not three cheers.

  21. In what way is it not pretty much OK? What is the specific noise? Rattle of the pump motor; squealing of a belt; worn tub bearings? Does it shake rattle and roll. If so, check shock absorbers; damping straps; leveling legs. Someone here can advise you.

    Washing Machine is noisy or vibrates too much?
    General remedies:

    1 Balance the load. Do smaller loads.
    2 Level the machine
    3 Inspect the water pump for a blockage
    4 Inspect the coupling
    5 Inspect the transmission
    6 Adjust the drive belt tension
    7 Check the motor bearings
    8 Check the drum brakes
    9 If nothing works, try soundproofing. It ain’t broke yet, why replace it? There’s a good chance this noisy old fellow is superior to anything available today.

    Washing Machine Is Making A Loud Noise

    Five Most Common Problems With Washing Machines

    DIY Washer Repair

    – this is poor attempt to get the ball rolling. I’m a half-assed slumlord who slavedrives machinery to its dying breath.

    • Wife pointed it out the other day, I think it was making a squeaking+rubbing noise during the spin cycle. I’m going to give it a good listen on the next load to see if I can positively identify it.

      Unfortunately she’s into the disposable mentality and wants to replace rather than repair things.

      • My wife says I’m always right. But then adds, that in things which are mainly her domain, she’s “more” right. I’d guess you’re in charge of appliances, but she’s in charge of the bigger picture item: family laundry.

        She’ll likely continue in disposable mentality unless she’s sees you work on the washer without making things worse. And best case scenario, be impressed if you manage to fix or mitigate the problem.

        If you do fix things sufficiently, maybe spend the money on something else she’s been wanting? It’ll feel good to open it up and look for the slam dunk easy fix, in an ideal technical world, you could livestream or provide running commentary on your repairs while we all kibbitz.
        – – –
        This is an easy repair that takes 15 min or 1/2 hour:

        A noise coming from the washing machine during or after the spin cycle can indicate that the drain pump has a restriction or has become defective.
        The drain pump on a washing machine is used to pump the water from the wash tub before and during the spin cycle. The pump may be belt driven, motor driven or have its own electric motor.

        Remove the front panel or cabinet to locate the pump and then operate the washer to verify that the pump is the source of the noise. Use caution as you are now exposed to moving parts and electrical circuits. If you can confirm that the noise is emanating from the pump, then disconnects the power from the washer and remove the inlet hose to the pump.

        Use a container to catch the water from the hose and pump. Inspect the pump impeller for signs of foreign objects that may be causing the noise or for damage to the impeller. Turn the impeller manually to verify that it is not seized or worn.

        Front load washers often use a self contained electric drain pump and the motor may be worn or damaged and require the complete pump to be replaced. Remove any foreign objects or replace the worn or damaged pump, then carefully tighten the hose clamps and check for leaks before installing the cabinet or front panel.

        Whirlpool washing machine drain pump replacement and diagnostic

        Washer Drain Pump Motor – How To Replace

        • Thanks for the links, the best course of action may well be for me to fix it myself while she’s out of the house and just let her think it fixed itself. Maybe I should change my name to Archibald Tuttle.

        • Tor, from my experience, it ain’t like the new one is going to be better than the old one and probably not as good reliability wise. I lament the passing of the old Frigidaire washer with the Jet Cone action, the old style with the agitator moving up and down. They were loud and wore out clothes fast compared to other, wimpy washing machines but they got shit clean, literally. And if it wasn’t shit but grease and all that other stuff men get on their clothes(two days in the patch inspection pipe(rolling pipe, humping pipe, etc)and there was just about every bad thing you can think of on your clothes….or coming in from changing irrigation or working cattle and no other washer would clean those clothes, not really clean. But that old Frigidaire cleaned hell out of them and lasted a long time doing so….and sure, it took a couple strong men to move one, all the more reason to have one. But they have big transmissions and big pumps and it was all quality metal, not pot metal that would fall apart. What I’d give to be able to make those again and smuggle them into the US. No telling what rural people would pay for one.

          30 years and longer ago it was common to find one outside and a new, wimpy model in the house. I don’t have to tell you whose clothes got washed in the old Frigidaire.

          And Tor, I aim this at you or anyone else who gets their clothes really nasty. If you want to beat stains, go to a laundry/dry cleaning supply. They have specialty cleaners that will remove nearly anything. I hear the people at the cleaners saying “hand me the blood” meaning the stuff that removes blood toot sweet or “hand me the oil” or “the rust”(this is some amazing stuff, just spot it on rust stains and they disappear).

  22. >>> “A blind stroke victim ought to have seen this coming.”

    Yup, should be obvious (but isn’t to most Americans) that there is no limit to the government quest to control all.

    Taxes are one old example — taxes (direct/indirect) only increase, with no predictable upper limit. It’s already over 100%, considering each citizen’s ‘share’ of their government’s $100Trillion+ long term debt.

    You don’t “own” your house either. You effectively “rent” it from the local government via property taxes; stop paying your property taxes and you’ll soon discover who actually owns your house.

    And the government closely dictates how you may build/use your home — right down to your toilet flush and shower flow. Government building-codes are staggering in their complexity and intrusiveness.

    Full automobile controls are just small potatoes to those who recognize government leviathan goals & methods.
    (…but don’t worry– Jeb or Hillary will save us in 2016)

    • Poncho, I’ve noticed that those nifty low flush volume toilets often require two flushes to get the job done. Not only do the gun-vermin dictate to us how much of what we are allowed to use, but all too often their “solution” merely seems to make the original problem worse.

      Don’t worry – Jeb or Hillary will do exactly as they are told by their bankster owners via their CFR approved handlers or they will get Richard Nixon’d at the very least or John Kennedy’d if they really step out of line. But I expect the same can be said about anyone that manages to ascend to the U.S. throne.

      • We still have the good old-fashioned full-flow toilets. Recently had to buy a shower head and I just pulled out the federally-mandated restrictor. (I guess once the “Internet of Things” comes about the authorities would be automatically notified of such transgressions.)

        It’s amazing to me that people in general are not outraged at federal goons even reaching into their damned bathrooms. I guess the government schools have done a good job at “socializing” most of them. Those of us who object will undoubtedly be judged insane at some point and hauled off to forced re-education camps.

        • …those of us who live in close proximity to Canada can purchase 3.5 gallon toilets in Canada and can freely bring them across the border into the USA. There is no prohibition on bringing REAL toilets into the USA.

  23. The problem is one of liability. The car makers are using the DMCA to protect themselves from lawsuits by people who have modified the software in their car. Their scenario (and it’s plausible, in today’s litigious society) is:

    Steve modifies his ABS software “so I can stop shorter on gravel roads”. He inadvertently makes a coding error, resulting in him smashing into the local Burger Barn, injuring several diners. The injured parties go get lawyers. They look at who may be at fault – it’s Steve, both as the driver and the person who changed the code. But Steve lives in a van down by the river and has no real assets. So they sue the automaker, because they’re the ones with deep pockets, and they didn’t prevent Steve from making those dangerous changes.

    • So, the big 3, et al, have enough lawyers on the dole that they should be able to craft legalese limiting their liability in cases where the vehicle has been modified. But i hear you with “deep pockets.’

  24. Some of the more ‘extreme’ libertarians that hang out at LRC (e.g., Stephan Kinsella) claim that there is no such thing as intellectual property rights. Property rights are based on scarcity, and there is no scarcity of thought. 2 or more people can think the same thing at the same time.

    • I part ways with them on that – because it’s bullshit.

      Think, for instance, of the creative originality of good writing. A guy like Hunter Thompson doesn’t have a valid claim to the work he created? Really?

      According to these sophists, he does not. Anyone can just take his work and read or use it for freeeeeeeee…. just because it’s uniquely vulnerable to being taken.

      Their position is, as I see it, utterly at odds with Libertarian morality because it is aggression. If someone simply takes my work – whether it’s a statue I made or an article I wrote – they have done me violence.

      If it’s not yours then it’s not yours.

      A thought is one thing. But it’s not the same thing as an elaborated thought made into something tangible and unique by one individual, who worked to create it.

      • ….well, you’re missing quite a lot on this complex issue. Big problems with “copyright” involve how the government actually creates and applies copyright law — it’s a huge mess, as you might well imagine.

        And consider the clothing/fashion industry that thrives over centuries without copyright.

          • >> “What, exactly, am I missing?”

            …maybe 150 years history on this intricate copyright issue, but Lysander Spooner certainly agreed with your current view. You stress the ‘moral argument’, but the economic argument is obviously your real concern.

            This intellectual property (IP) debate hinges on two questions: What is property ? & What is an idea ?

            IP advocates always insisted that ideas were property because they were the products of human labor, and every person rightfully owned what his labor produced… thus IP was a natural right (moral argument). But proving that ideas=property is extremely difficult.

            You can only own ‘private’ ideas. Once you communicate private/personal ideas they can no longer be ‘owned’ exclusively by the lone original mind. Ownership requires exclusivity.
            Only silence can guarantee ownership of intangible ideas.

            Thus there can be no natural ownership right to once shared ideas. However, reasonable protection of shared ideas can be achieved thru voluntary contract. If few or no people wish to contract for one’s private ideas, that’s a valuable signal on the current market demand for that IP.

            Copyright advocate would also have to logically admit that their view implies that all human speech ultimately is a unique, personal form of owned expression. Therefore, a person should be entitled to legal protection for every sentence he utters, so that no one thereafter could speak that arrangement of words without his consent.

            And if the ownership of ideas is indeed a natural human right, why should it be so limited in time & place? Ownership of other natural property (jewelry, real estate, etc) does not legally expire after a few years, or is only legally recognized within a certain country. If ideas=property… why are ideas treated so very differently under the law ? Shouldn’t many modern Chinese nationals be paying copyright royalties to Shakespeare’s heirs or the British government?

            If a person publicizes his private ideas without contract… he should be presumed to be freely relinquishing any legal ownership claim… and those choosing to hear/read those ideas are under no obligation to the author. Voluntary Contracts work well with all other forms of property transfer.

            • Hi Poncho,

              An idea is one thing – a book (as an example) is quite another thing.

              The former is an intangible; the latter a physical work product subject to physical taking. That it is (courtesy of modern technology) now easy to take in no way legitimizes the taking.

              A finished book does not just pop into existence. It takes (typically) months of work and the sustained creative input of the writer (which is uniquely his) followed by (if published) the work (and materials) involved in formatting, editing, binding, etc.

              So, again: I am not claiming I own the idea for a book about shitty cars that I think would be cool to call Automotive Atrocities. I am asserting that the actual book I actually wrote is, indeed, my book. Other people may have had a similar idea. But this – the finished book – is more than just an idea. No one else could have written the actual book the way I actually wrote it – and no one else can claim to have actually written the book, regardless.

              The same applies to an article or a finished piece of music.

              Why is it that the work product of artists is so often considered a free resource, to picked up and enjoyed as if it had rained down from the sky?

              Most people would feel some compunction about snatching a magazine from a kiosk while the clerk’s back was turned. Yet they seem to feel it’s ok to do the same thing via a computer.

              And here’s the thing: Libertarianism is extremely vulnerable to criticism about its real-world viability based on the idea that people are – in general – assholes who will exploit their fellow men absent some overarching mechanism to prevent them from doing so and punishing them if they do so regardless. Call it “human nature” or “sin” or whatever you like.

              It’s a persuasive argument.

              And the only way to counter it is by persuading a critical mass of people (which sways society by establishing norms of conduct) not to be assholes. By free choice, based on aversion to exploiting their fellow men.

              This can be done. Has been done.

              Chattel slavery being the obvious – but no less valid – example. What was once considered not merely legal but morally acceptable is now not only illegal but regarded by most people as a despicable moral affront. Even if legal restrictions were eliminated, it is doubtful chattel slavery would ever be practiced again because people see the wrong and want no part.

              This scales – and must, if Libertarianism is to have any chance of becoming more than an academic exercise.

              Aggression in all its forms must be scrupulously de-legitimized, which will result in its withering away.

              • I would politely point out, the most effective means of creating this “governance” of self? Persuading people to NOT be salacious assholes?
                Is religion, and the belief that you’ll be judged after life.

                Kind of funny, huh? 🙂

                Mind, it only works within the group (or within certain similar-enough groups.) Christian British destroyed the Thugee of India who worshipped Kali with human sacrifice. Voluntary, BTW – no one was FORCED to die for Kali, they had to be willing, and couldn’t bleed, as blood was the start of life…

                So the Abrahamic religions (I discount Islam) were decent, while they could be part of society.
                Remove an all-seeing, perfect being from oversight of society? Given that we know Government CANNOT be that?
                You provide incentive to be a gluttonous asshole. And no dis-incentive, save law of tooth and claw. What you can keep, you can control; or vice-versa. No afterlife, no reason to be decent.

                And of note, there will ALWAYS be assholes, and some will be aggressive. Venus flytrap, instead of Clover. Same beast, different MO. One tries to induce OTHERS to commit violence on his behalf; the other is quite willing to take a stab at you himself. (Though there is no real comparison, as Clover and the more-aggressive cousin are mobile, not just passive invaders.)

                Clover is the same thing, no matter how we slice it. The Carnivorous Bunny, perhaps, would be the active, aggressive counterpart. Or maybe a Hyena. But they’re out to injure us.
                And without either our assertive actions (self-defense) or someone whom they MUST answer to, no avoiding it – they’ll eb assholes because they CAN be. They’re bigger, stronger, nastier, they can assert Authority whether you want it or not…

                Religion has it’s purpose… 😉

      • Well put. Libertarians in general have long been addicted to technology (“why, it’s cheap, it’s liberating, etc. etc.”) but a few of late seem to be having second thoughts. All of a sudden what was obvious to the rest of us is becoming obvious to them: this technology is ultimately restricting us, putting us under constant surveillance and monitoring all we do, say, buy, and sell. The technological revolution that came to save us has instead enslaved us.

        Because Internet content is so vast and easy to access, we’ve come to think it should all be free. That’s one reason why die-hard libertarians think patents and intellectual ownership rights are passe.

      • You have a good point regarding creative works by individuals. However, the patent system as it currently exists is being used by big corporations to choke off innovation and strong arm innovative startups into selling their ideas at a low price. I don’t know what the solution is, but a system which allows someone to patent a rectangular phone with rounded edges is clearly broken.

        • Hi Escher,

          Like the NAP, I regard this as a moral question rather than a legal one. The solution is for people to do the right thing, by free choice. To not take what isn’t theirs. To pay for what they use. And so on.

          • Unfortunately corporations are not people (although the law may not agree) so they only look at what is ‘legal’, not what is right.

        • While I agree it is sometimes used by large companies to delay innovation and stifle competition, it is more often used by companies owning IP that have simply purchase the IP not to develop it but instead to extort others through the threat of legal action should another company infringe purposefully or not.

          • Shock Me,
            What you stated has the precise effect of reducing competition by using patents and IP law as a stick to beat up rivals.
            I remember a patent lawyer once telling me that a patent does not give its owner the right to implement the ideas therein, but gives him the right to stop others from doing so.
            Better minds than I need to figure out how to clean up the system to protect innovation and peoples’ intellectual products without handicapping competing ideas in the process.

      • Hello Eric

        Quoting, “But it’s not the same thing as an elaborated thought made into something tangible and unique by one individual, who worked to create it.”

        Now that’s a familiar sub-variant of Marxist Labour Theory. As is well known (or ought to be), Marxism is anti-ethical to Libertarianism.

        Dr Kinsella’s work is not “bullshit” as was rather inelegantly blurted. What he presented was and is an important and fundamental challenge to the entire notion of “IP” as property. I remember being shocked by what he had demonstrated. I also remember the failure and frustration of academic and professional colleagues in their attempts to demolish his argument. His scholarship has not been rebutted and presently stands undefeated (and I should know as I am from IP commercialisation and tried often enough to unseat him). The reality of the situation is that he is not the only scholar who has challenged the conventional ideology relating to the subject of copyrights and patents and what is private property and what can’t properly be identified as so. For example, Boldren and Levine make an independent anti-IP as property case. I challenge you to read and consider them, as well as Kinsella, and see if you can build a case in favour of IP as property and make a logical rebuttal. Note that this is not a simple task you are being challenged with but a well serious test of academic and philosophical scholarship.

        “A guy like Hunter Thompson doesn’t have a valid claim to the work he created? Really?”

        The claim that Hunter Thompson had for a story he authored is that he was the creator or author of it. Even when the story enters the public domain that claim remains (another person claiming to be the author would be committing dishonesty or fraud). A claim he could not possess was that of ownership to copies of the story contained in (say) books and magazines purchased and owned by other parties (not unless there was an express contract or agreement with the other parties conceding awarding ownership/s or special rights to Hunter- of course, a possessor of the book who was not party to such an agreement would not be covered by any of the terms of such an agreement).

        “Anyone can just take his work and read or use it for freeeeeeeee…. just because it’s uniquely vulnerable to being taken.”

        False statement.

        Hunter Thompson as creator of a story had first use of it. He could sell to a publishing outfit for money (and did so on many occasions). Once the story was published in books etc which were then sold to other parties, then that story can not be considered his personal private property. An analogy is that of a man who homesteads a property from the wilderness. It is his property, but once he sells it on, it is his no longer. He is still the original homesteader of the property and may boast statement of such, but he is not the owner of it now and has no legitimate claim of control.

        “Their position is, as I see it, utterly at odds with Libertarian morality because it is aggression. If someone simply takes my work – whether it’s a statue I made or an article I wrote – they have done me violence.”

        Not so. If you sell something, then it is no longer an item of your property. For example, if you sell your statue to another person, then it is his (willing seller, willing buyer). If he takes other items of HIS property (clay, furnace, trowel, glaze etc) and rearranges those items (his property) to manufacture a duplicate statue, he has done you no aggression whatsoever. There is no violence.

        “A thought is one thing. But it’s not the same thing as an elaborated thought made into something tangible and unique by one individual, who worked to create it.”

        Marx stuff again. Anyway, the distinction drawn is an arbitrary irrelevance to the argument. The reality is that in order for something to be property it must be characterised by the fundamental attributes of property. “IP” fails to do this. Worse, it is not necessary for Kinsella et al to prove the failure (that is, to prove the negative), although they may well have done that already. It is up to us to prove the positive. And THAT has not been accomplished.


        • Hi Sione,

          You write:

          “copies of the story contained in (say) books and magazines purchased and owned by other parties”

          “If you sell something, then it is no longer an item of your property”…

          Italics added.

          Yes, I agree.

          But what if it was not sold but rather taken?

          If you’re using something without having paid its creator, then you’re a free rider. (“Public” things being an example, when they are used by tax eaters rather than tax payers.) But in this context, I’d specifically like to focus on written work, as I am a writer and make my living this way.

          Which has become very hard to do, because of the ease with which written material may simply be taken and reproduced without compensation.

          Imagine a bookstore. A fellow walks in and buys a copy of Automotive Atrocities (cover price $19.99). He walks outside, where he has set up a printing press capable of making identical copies, runs off 1,000 of them and hands them out for free to anyone who asks for one.

          Sales of my book inside the store fall to nil. And not only have I lost 1,000 potential sales of my book, I do not get another book contract because the book publisher knows it won’t recoup its investment because the moment the first copy becomes available, someone will copy it and people will be able to obtain it for “free” (that is, at the expense of the writer who created the work and the publisher who had it formatted/bound and so on).

          This is precisely what’s happened out in the real world, incidentally. Publishing and journalism generally have been decimated.

          Now, having bought my book, the fellow in my example above is entitled to read it as many times as he likes, to tear it up if he likes, to loan it (or give it away to) to another person if he likes. But the key thing is he did, in fact, purchase the book. A person who did not purchase the book but simply grabbed up the “free” copy – at the expense of the author and the publisher – has taken property, the creative work of another. He is an aggressor. Has committed a moral wrong.

          Reproduction is another act of taking. By doing that, he becomes a parasite and an aggressor.

          I am not going to debate legalisms. I wish to debate morality. The fact that it’s easier (courtesy of technology) to simply avail oneself of someone else’s creative work without their consent or compensation does not obviate the moral wrong.

          As an aside:

          Referring to someone not a medical doctor or physicist, etc. but who holds a PhD in the humanities (or a JD) as “Dr.” may be technically accurate but they (doctors in the sciences vs. doctors of philosophy, art, the law) are not equivalent. “Dr.” King vs. a cardiologist.

          I don’t think so.

          • Kinsella is a lawyer and a sophist. He produces nothing of value but rather trades in the aristocracy of pull. His ideas are worth considering to the degree they exist outside of this reality. But at the end of the day, the bulk of his bread is given to him by usurpers and takers by force.

            Marx was one advocate of what I’d call Laborism. His generally discredited keystone concept was the labor theory of value. That it matters how much effort it takes to create a finished good.

            So in Eric’s case, we know Automotive Atrocities involved 3,500 man hours of intellectual labor. And that is what gives the finished book its value. That the capitalist siphons off Eric’s value unfairly and only gives him a fractional pittance, say 2% of the true value of Eric’s 3,500 hours of toil.

            The proper theory of value is generally perceived to be the market value. That Eric’s book is worth whatever he can get for it in each individual case. Maybe 5 guys will pay him $5,000 for the first copies of the book, and to sponsor its very existence.

            Then the next 500 people will each pay $100 for a highly sought hard cover edition of his new work.

            Then the next 40,000 people will pay $5 for a paperback version. Then 1 million people will pay $1 for an a blackmarket version made clandestinely without Eric’s consent. Then 800 people will pay $1 for it when the digital version gets to Amazon. Then 10 million people will pay absolutely nothing and get it for free on the internet thru one mechanism or another.

            The market has no morals. If the author or a thief brings the book to market, it will sell at a strike price and that is its value. It is immaterial whether Eric gets anything for this. Saying everything is morally connected, is a kind of schizophrenic theory of value. That everyone is connected to everyone else against their will.

            Or it is the usual authoritarian theory of value. Give Eric what is his, or various thugs of authority might catch you “stealing” and punish you a hundred times what you could have just paid to Eric as his initial asking price.

            The first thing that has to be agreed to. Is Eric is important. Something has to exist so good quality content is created. Under anarchy, something has to emerge that compensates Eric adequately so he can produce.

            Copying Eric’s work digitally is more akin to a cancer and an irritant. Possibly a fatal one though, so it is still of great concern. Let’s just jettison the usual Judeo Christian arguments as I think we mostly agree on what they are. And that taking is “wrong” whatever that means. Which is mostly windowdressing and nothing, since underneath it all is the jackboots and the forced scarcity that leaves us defenseless and all in a free-for-all a pri

            Maybe something similar can be done for works of fiction. Rights in unique creations that do not exist without the maker.

            Stephen King would have logorights in the title “The Shining.”

            No one could use “Jack Torrance” or “The Overlook Hotel.” Nor the dead caretaker “Delbert Grady.” And all the rest of it.

            There used to be honor in plagiarism. Pepsi was a cola, yet it was different than coke. It was its own thing, though clearly a derivative of the original of course.

            Ever cell of our body is unique. We each have our own DNA. Likewise our every creation should be unique.

            Making copies of stuff is a skill and labor all its own. Perhaps a dark art, but an art none the less. And one that makes everyone else in the world wealthier except for the person who is copied from. So on balance, probably a good thing, so long as the copiee doesn’t perish and starve in the process.

            Ultimately its the fault of the creator not to have control of his own children and to keep tabs on his own. It is his and his alone’s burden to bear under anarchy.

            There’s a lot more to it, but which is it that you consider more important.

            That men are equitably paid for what they produce regardless of their personal responsibility and protection of their production with their own hands and efforts.

            Or that some monolithic leviathan should persist that will help the creators get what is theirs. But also do a thousand other less savory and desirable things that destroy our individual liberties and freedom.

            Maybe a little of both and something completely new. Maybe every IP packet on the internet could have imbedded some kind of creation record linked to it, and it would always be obvious who the originator was.

            This already exists to some extent. There is an internet archive of every page. There is software that checks for plagiarism and can tell what percent of your prose is your own, and what percent matches the previously existing work of somebody else.

            If you order Eric’s book and digitize it. Which most likely google books has already done. It is up to Eric and others who profit from this book to track them down and stop them or make them pay.

            Or set up a hall of shame that puts on display those who copy without permission. Or hire someone to break their legs or rob their house. Any thing is fair game under aggressor defense.

            In Eric’s estimation, copying his work is an aggression. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. It matters what he is able to do about it. The question is, who’s going to stop all the individuals who copy and distribute all sorts of media anonymously and with little or no compensation or accountability to anyone.

            It’s a broken system in my eyes, this forces my bettors and more accomplished and wealthy creators to work to make something better that serves their interests.

            Nearly all of us want some kind of working system of value exchange. Since what exists in non-existent except for the very powerful and connected corporations and men of means.

            Nobody likes not having a way to gauge value, and to earn value in a straight forward way, which is what we have now.

            The makers can continue to toil away, while I continue to watch listen or read whatever I want with no permission from anyone and little or nothing anyone can even do about it.

            And I can continue to have little or no way to give anything back to anyone. Since those who create value, and concede that I take it when I can, have basically told me. Use the thugs blood money lucre, and pay in dollars, or else forget it.

            I can’t be bothered to do for myself. To build a value system without the current oligarchs. I’ll just stick to fines, jails, threats, and forced scarcities that make us all poorer and more and more isolated and powerless.

            • Hmm, what about the donations you collect? Isn’t that a reward of sorts for the work you’ve done?

              On another issue, what is revealed in the above article is the communist takeover of America. Instead of taking over by force majeure as in Russia; they have succeeded by infiltrating the main political parties in America and legislation like this is the result.

              • Hi kerdasi,

                Yes, EPautos receives donations. Is it of any relevance as regards people who are free riders?

                I mean, does the fact that some pay entitle others to “free” stuff?

                I agree with your last comment. The general sea-change in attitudes; that it’s ok to take things just because they are “there.” That one is entitled to things produced by others.

                • In old Ireland; poets expected compensation in proportion to the perceived merit of their work.

                  So, I would say that donations are a payment(reward) of sorts for your efforts. That’s all.

          • Eric, why do you think that a lawyer or one who has attained a Phd in business or philosophy is not equivalent to a physician or one who has attained a Phd in physics or other “hard” sciences?

            In my experience, the former are more apt to have a broader range of knowledge, i.e,. more absolute ken and be more flexible and intellectually curious.

            Yes, it is a generalization, but, nonetheless, it is what I have observed in my life’s experiences.

            • Hi Mike,

              Hell, because I could do it (earn a PhD in philosophy or history)… physics or medicine? Not so much!

              • I know lawyers and philosophy teachers who know more about nutrition and vaccines than just about any MD.

                It is about asking questions and digging. Its about intellectual curiosity. Its about refusing to be caged and kept within our assigned pastures. Let me pay you a compliment – you are a great example of what I just described.

            • I have a (somewhat cynical) friend who always differentiates between “medical doctors” and “real doctors.” Has a low opinion of quacks.
              Of course all these degrees and certificates are just more gunvermin pablum for the masses.

      • eric, so what is your position on public libraries or other “free” libraries? What if half a dozen of us buy half a dozen books of various writers and then pass them around?

        Now if it were a hog or a calf and you could eat it and then I could eat it too, I’d have no problem “sharing”. The story of the pig with a wooden leg comes to mind.

        • I have no problem with either lending or giving away books (or music) I have purchased. But the so-called ‘public’ libraries are tax supported. I will use them while they are around, but I will not support them any more than I am already forced to do.

        • Eric is well-qualified to answer this, but I’ll butt in anyway: “free” libraries have been around for 130 years or so, with little or no detriment to authors. As a former assistant to a library curator at one of our major universities, I can attest that (for the most part) the library paid for its books and the book sellers were glad to have their wares made public. I even bought a few of the books for myself that I saw the library acquire.

          The Internet is something novel, though. The work of a lifetime can be ripped off in an hour, and as hard as it may be for true-blue libertarians to fathom, people have to eat, and they certainly have the right to enjoy the fruits of their labor. I think Eric’s arguments are dispositive.

        • Hi Eight,

          “Public” generally means tax funded – and hence far from “free”!

          But let’s assume it’s a library funded by non-coercive means. It would need to buy the volumes, yes? In which case, the author receives compensation (one assumes). That numerous people would then be able to borrow/read the volumes is fine with me – because ownership has not been transferred to them but remains with the library that bought the volumes. If a reader really likes a given book and wishes to own a copy then he must go out and buy one for himself.

          My beef with the Internet is that it has made it possible – effortless – to simply take other people’s work without their permission and without compensation. And to use that work (as, for example, the literally countless web sites that just snatch my columns and use them to provide “content” for their sites).

    • What do you mean by “extreme” libertarians?

      If the world had more LRC writers and readers, would it not be an infinitely better place?

  25. The Internet of Things is fast approaching with its perpetually connected appliances. Soon big brother will know what you keep in the fridge (to notify Obamacare), whether you’re heading out to the car with more than 1 beer in you (to notify the cops) and whether you are a furtive smoker (cue Obamacare again). Most of us will be too numb to care by then – the future is looking like a hybrid of 1984 and ‘Brave New World’.

  26. All these aftermarket chip sets to change computer settings are already illegal if you can raise the original governed speed of said vehicle.

    I tried to get rid of my smart meter and got into all sorts of shit over it. Since I have no idea of what it can do and it’s 300′ from my house and barn(and can be and IS read electronically from 3/8ths mile away), I parked an old round baler right in front of it. I’d like to see the images from the cam….orange sheetmetal slowly rusting.

    • As I understand it the problem with smart meters is not necessarily being camera-equipped, but that they can monitor the energy signature of everything you turn on in the house and use that to identify whatever item is being used at any given time. Basically everything you do with lights and appliances is monitored and tracked in real-time. Of course the elites pushing this “smart grid” crap claim that this capability won’t be used, but we know how that will play out. (Oh, Mr. Flinders, we see that you are still using incandescent lighting in violation of federal guidelines…)

      So far in my area smart meters are voluntary (a discount is offered for signing up) but I’m sure one will be forcibly installed at some point. From what I gather it is possible to shield them so they cannot communicate, but that opens up another battle as well.

      I’ve never been a big proponent of solar panels but can definitely see the advantages of living off the grid as the noose is tightened.

      • There are three drivers for “smart” meters:

        Meter readers are too expensive. Oh, not the people reading meters, but the fleet management and insurance costs.

        Time of day metering. Many businesses already pay time of day rates in order to get a better deal from the power company. Once all the smart meters are in place, all they have to do is move everyone to the new billing system. Watch for crazy billing errors and other problems as they “work the bugs out.” Governments will step in as needed.

        Load sheding. During peak hours during high demand times, like August afternoons, instead of opening up breakers, they’ll just instigate rolling blackouts at the street level. You might be able to get an exception if you have someone in the home on life support, but I’m sure there will be plenty of mistakes made.

        • Look up “Home Area Network”. This is the capability that is in the smart meters and will be if it isn’t already in various appliances and devices. It’s in the specs of the smart meters. It’s called a “conspiracy theory”. Also see the IEEE paper about smart meters identifying older non-networked appliances and devices by their back EMF.

          I’ll let everyone decide on the implications themselves.

          • BrentP, you hit that nail squarely. There are programs devoted to figuring out exactly what exactly is using that power. Then all the alphabet law agencies want to figure out how they can construe something illegal about it.

      • The other claw of the pincer is, they’re making it illegal to live off-grid. Cases are being settled… Your self-sufficient house MUST be hooked up to city water and electric and sewer, so we can monitor you….

        The boot is kicking us in the face, people… It’s just not yet ground down completely.

  27. This is nuts. At least my poor old 1972 daily driver has no computers at all. I’ll be holding on to it as long as possible! How much longer until we have non-repairable appliances spying on us as well? (Gotta keep those old TVs, fridges, and washing machines going too!)

    • Jason, you can still buy a Speed Queen washing machine with no on-board electronics but they are expensive. It’s probably just a matter of time before the water / energy use Nazis nix that though.

    • We’ve had 3 new washers and 2 new dryers in the past 11 years. I feel like they’re being designed to fail as well. They all last a little longer than their 3 year warranty.

      • I bought the extended warranty for the last Whirlpool machine we purchased. I was glad I did, because about three months after the factory warranty expired, the main control board smoked. Recently and now well out of warranty, the on / off switch died. It was a broken plastic spring / actuator rod behind the membrane and I was able to weld it back together with a soldering iron. But the next time it breaks I suspect we’ll be spending the eight hundred bucks for a Speed Queen with old fashioned controls. If it wasn’t for my wife, I think I’d resurrect my grandmother’s old wooden tub washer with the 3 horse gas motor on it. We have a friend that has a GE fridge in her garage from the 1950s and it still runs fine. And no, she doesn’t want to sell it, I already asked. You can’t tell me that with all our modern technology that kind of reliability can’t be duplicated or even exceeded today. We all know it could. The big players just wouldn’t be able to sell everyone a new fridge or washer every five years or so.

        • Our current washer and drier are circa 1985, 30 years old. They’ve been working pretty much OK but the washer has started making some noises. I want to get it repaired, the wife wants a newfangled “high efficiency” (yuck) model.

          I’d been looking at Speed Queen, maybe I can talk her into one of those. They’re expensive but particularly at our age we’d probably never have to buy another washer.

        • Make sure you unplug it when not in use. Ideally you should put it on a UPS or power conditioner, but finding one that can handle the wattage could be difficult.

          • …a dedicated single receptacle surge suppressor is a good idea for ANY appliance that has an electronic circuit board and controls. They are relatively inexpensive, and are usually available from electrical wholesalers and distributors–NOT the “big box” stores.

              • You are correct. A whole house surge suppressor works well. The addition of surge suppressor receptacles adds another layer of “protection”.

                • Actually no. Using serial surge protectors is a useless and unneeded waste of funds. You’d be better off buying a whole house Sola 240 single phase line conditioner and using surge protector outlets for surges that originate in the home such as HVAC cycling, Refrigerator cycling, washing machine and dryer cycling. Anything that draws lots of power will cause two surges. One when they are turned on and another when they are turned off. Having serial surge protectors would require the circuit with the outlets to have a dedicated ground circuit back to the same ground the whole house surge protector uses.

                  In short a line monitor or protector that keeps the voltage at 208 volts straight to protect from brown outs and over voltage conditions and surge protecting outlets has the best coverage. Now, whether you can afford a line conditioner is another issue altogether.

                  Better yet, get UPS devices for your appliances. the batteries are natural surge protectors. That way you don’t need the line conditioning or the surge protection.

                  Just saying…

                  David Ward

        • Some types of gas or kerosene powered absorption refrigerators had no moving parts other than the door, though they were inefficient, had small capacity and couldn’t cope well with lots to cool down (but that inefficiency doesn’t go away if it just gets moved back to electricity generators run off heat sources). Still, they could be cheap to operate if fuel prices were low enough and they lasted practically indefinitely. (Look up how they worked some time – it’s a fascinating interplay of the physical properties of high pressure ammonia, water and hydrogen.)


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