The Saaaaaaafety Exemption(s)

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It’s a curious thing . . .

The same government which says it’s so very “concerned” about our saaaaaaaaaaaaaafety that it won’t allow us to ride a motorcycle without a helmet – and will threaten us with violence if we don’t wear a seat belt – won’t allow us to disable known-to-be dangerous air bags and is  very loosey goosey about self-driving/automated cars.

Which have demonstrated how unsafe they are.

Like air bags, automated cars have killed – unlike me not buckling up. But that’s not enough to get them banned or even restricted very much.

Uber just resumed testing its self-driving cars on pubic roads, in Pennsylvania – nine months after it voluntarily suspended testing them in Arizona, following some negative publicity about one of its self-driving cars driving over a pedestrian while the “driver” slumbered.

Consider that: Uber (and it’s not just Uber) voluntarily suspended their testing – which the government allows – on  public roads. Where, one assumes, the public is very much exposed to whatever “glitches” happen to arise.

California just “gave Zoosk” – another insipidly-named company – “permission” to operate automated ride-sharing cars in the state.

The federal government has issued no fatwas forbidding the testing of automated cars on public roads in any state.

There is even a move afoot to eliminate the possibility of human control – well, of control by us – via the removal of brake pedals and steering wheels altogether. (The cars will be controlled by the software and such, which will be controlled by the corporate-government nexus.)

But we are not allowed to decide whether to wear seatbelts in our cars.

Other automated things – airplanes, for instance – are required to have fallback/redundant controls on the theory that being helpless inside a powerful fast-moving machine that might just run into something because of a sensor malfunction, software hiccup or hardware degradation is not . . .what’s the word?


Things go awry. They also wear out. Sometimes, they just don’t work. About a week ago, I was test driving the new Mazda6 (reviewed here) which has (like many new cars) automated cruise control and automated braking.

Luckily, the car also still has a brake pedal. Lucky, because it snowed – and the snow and ice covered the sensors built into the car’s nose, which were thus no longer able to sense anything. But my sensors – my eyes – still worked. So did my right foot. Using both, I was able to see the need to brake – and did so.

If the car had been fully automated, it would not have stopped – and there would have been nothing I could have done about it.

Except scream.   

Would you board a self-flying airplane without a pilot sitting in the left seat, just in case? How often does your cell phone or laptop do something buggy? Would you like to be riding either at 70 MPH when that happens, without any way to intervene?

The government thinks this is okay – when it comes to four-wheeled cell phones.

This is puzzling for as long as you attempt to make sense of it on the assumption that the government is actually concerned about our safety. It isn’t. The government is concerned about control – and about how to increase it.

Saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety is the canard used to gull people into accepting it.

Consider how aggressive the government is, on the one hand, with hypothetical risks that don’t even involve other people (i.e., potentially innocent victims) such as the not-wearing of a seat belt or helmet. There is certainly the potential for greater injury to the individual who elects not to buckle-up/wear a helmet – but there is almost no risk attending this to others.

Seatbelt and helmet laws do, however, give the government more control – over everyone. The principle that the government can threaten you with violence to make you wear a seatbelt implies that the government can threaten you with violence to do jumping jacks – and at some point in the probably not-far future, will likely do so.

Jumping jacks (exercise) being good for you – just like wearing  a seat belt.

Consider how aggressive the government has become with regard to speculative risks to others – such as the jihad against even the possibility of trivial amounts of alcohol in a person’s blood. This possibility provides the excuse to condition the population into accepting random “checkpoints” where they must submit to government manhandling without even the pretense of individual suspicion and absent any harm caused.

But an automated car that actually does kill people? One designed to be immune from corrective action by the human being within? One which may – and which has – driven itself into a concrete bridge abutment, broadsided an 18-wheeler it didn’t “see” and trampled at least one unfortunate pedestrian?

Thats okay.

It’s ok to test them on public roads.

Just as it’s okay for armed government workers to drive faster than the speed limit – which we’re told is always unsafe (for us) and for which offense we are always subject to punishment.

Just as we’re told that guns are dangerous and must be taken out of our hands – but never the hands of government workers. Those hands can handle guns safely, somehow – while ours never can.

You perhaps have noticed a pattern.

. . .

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  1. The USA is collapsing.

    The US is in debt, is conducting multiple wars, is a police state, is flooded by illegal immigrants, and has become immoral.

    Americans are either ignoring the decay or think that nothing can be done to stop the decline. Almost no one thinks the US can be saved.

    No one appears to be worried about tyranny because liberals think the police state only applies to conservatives and conservatives think the police state only affects liberals.

    The truth seems to be that the elites want to wipe out the strong white men and plan to send the weak liberals to the gulags where they will be starved and killed. The 1% will then divide the wealth and land of the US among themselves.

    How else can you explain the destruction of the USA? Economics isn’t rocket science. If you want a strong economy, don’t punish hard work with taxes and regulations while rewarding laziness with welfare and allowing millions of 3rd world immigrants to flood the country.

    Those fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

    Sadly Americans won’t realize what is happening until it is too late.

    Never underestimate the inhumanity of man towards man. Greed has no bounds.

    Wake up.


    Pass the word.

  2. The standard, it would seem, is whether the automated car can drive better than the average sixteen year old. Which most of them (the automated cars) already do. You see, we’ve already accepted that 16 year olds can be let loose on the highways, despite the fact that their presence is far more dangerous than many consumer products which have already been banned.

    So you can see how low a standard they operate to.


    Kim G
    Redding, CA
    Where we recently were pulled over for driving 105 MPH and NOT ticketed. Miracles can happen.

    • Decades have been spent making better idiots out of people to justify a central control. It’s intentional.

      The reason a 16 year old is poor behind the wheel is because he hasn’t been doing since he was 12 and wasn’t given proper instruction at 15.75 years old.

      • Hi Brent,

        One of my best friends has a kid who turned 17 and still does not drive. Does not have a license. Is afraid to drive. The kid has his dad drive him everywhere, or just stays home. And of course, thinks AGWs are “keeping us safe.”

    • Good stuff Kim. I got pulled over in Melbourne Australia for doing 30 km over the limit. Immediate licence suspension. The 2 coppers asked me why I was speeding so fast. I replied: “No comment”. She said ok and asked me to drive a little slower today. Maybe she saw that I have held the gendarmes from taking my money and points for a speeding offence 2 years ago and thought I would beat her in court. No fine, no infringement notice for me that day.

  3. Yes indeed, there is a nefarious pattern.

    I just wonder about the strange people that write these rules. Do they drive without a seatbelt? Do they drive at excessive speeds in their work commutes?

    Or do they all have personal chauffers?

    Just asking.

  4. If we are supposed to accept the safety promised by autonomous cars then we should be overjoyed with the elimination of auto insurance. Where does the insurance industry stand on this when they are poised to lose all those premiums?

    • Hi David,

      This will end up with one form of mulcting replacing the older version. The point being the mulcting will not cease. If mandatory insurance ever goes away, it will be replaced by tax-per-mile and so on.

  5. Luckily here in Utah, motorcyclists are allowed to go without helmets.

    We do have seatbelt laws though. And we can carry firearms inside a vehicle without a permit.

    It’s a mixed bag.

    As far as the safety of automated driving is concerned, all I care about is the statistics. If it gets to the point that self-driving cars have fewer deaths per mile than human drivers, then it would be a no-brainer to have it do most of the driving. Provided they don’t drive 5 miles an hour everywhere.

  6. RE: airliner autopilots. The autopilot systems are generally there because it enhances the productivity of the flight crew. And the national airspace is designed for automation with clearly defined minimum distances between aircraft (mostly for physics reasons because of wake turbulence), and as any snowboarder knows you can’t get hurt when you’re in the air.

    Automobile autopilots seem to be a reaction to the horrible driver training we receive in the US.

    • you refer, I presume, the driver “education” we are MANDATED to pay for by self-same government? Yes, of course you do. We see the work product of this system on the motorwayas daily. The handling skills, attentiveness, knowledge of right of way rules, etc, is far lower than it has been since such things were invented. Yet a youngster cannot be legally trained by his Father (like I was.. safest drive I ever know, multiple millons of miles on the roads daily, only one crash, a guy HIT HIM from behind at a stop sign. Broke the glass tail lamp lens on his 1953 Austin A 40 saloon. Don’t worry not only was it a $150 commute car, the only thing that was harmed was the glass lens. Dad picked up the two broken halves, chucked them into his pocket, drove the remaining mile home, removed the bezel and rubber mountring from the car, placed the two halves next each other, and refitted the broken lens. That’s the one that was on the car when he sold it years later. HE taught us all hw to drive. but today? Oh no, he’s not “qualified” nor is he “approved” or “certified”. So a man like that cannot teach his own children to drive in most states… they MUST pay the money (some $600 or more, depending) and receive the worse than worthless “training” from the school district. My own insurance just went up by some 25% because drivers in my area are crashing more often. I’ve got well over two milion miles under my belt, not one chargeable crash, and maybe three total incidents where some OTHER driver took it upon themselves to run into my vehicle.. as also did one deer. I’ve taught new drivers to drive in a tractor trailer rig, no issues there.

      • Here in the US we have a multiple guess test and a practical test that involves driving around a parking lot with a few cones placed in a path. It isn’t a test of anything. But because Uncle stamps the requisite forms and checks the correct boxes, for most that’s all they need to claim ability.

        Because driving is one of those simple to learn, difficult to master skills most drivers rate themselves as “above average,” which was the basis of the Dunning-Kruger effect paper. And Uncle’s minimal requirements reenforce this problem. If there were no licensing requirements at all I think we’d be far better off. Perhaps insurance companies would provide certification or driving instructors could be liable for putting someone out on the street that had no business being there, for example.

        But then again, people still click on pop-up ads telling them they might have malware on their PCs. You can’t regulate stupid.

    • You could start by refusing to use their intentional misdirection in terminology. Autonomous driving is what you and I do now, without automation. Only people have autonomy, or can be autonomous, hence the difference in the two words. People are not automated, and calling someone an automaton is generally an insult. Likewise with autonomy; which, by definition requires free will and freedom of choice, thought, and action. The automobile automation marketeers are using the word “autonomous” in an attempt to fool people into being more comfortable with automated transportation, which someone else NOT you, controls. It is intention misdirection and deception, and until your organization realizes and defeats that ideology, you will not be heard, seen, or acknowledged by the PTB. You would have better results just chucking a grenade in the window of one as it whizzed by you on the street. As a motorcycle rider I am right there with you in the battle against blind automobiles, heart and soul. But these are the facts, they have the smart-phone morons believing everything they see on their sail-fawn, and neither you nor I have the funds to fight that kind of mass hypnotism.

    • I suspect that eventually bicycles will be removed from the roads, forced into bike path ghettos that go nowhere. Or elaborate transponder systems will be required to telegraph our location to the AI in the machine. Because software engineers will have an easier time parsing transponder data instead of chewing up clock cycles looking for bicycles. Probably will need to be mandatory, add weight, be yet another thing to fail, and if it is Uncle approved will never get any better over time.

      • RK,

        “forced into bike path ghettos that go nowhere.”

        We have some nice bike paths that go nowhere. But they are being neglected and deteriorating.

        You get my vote for Carnac the Magnificent this Christmas.

    • Hi X,

      Of course, AGWs are exempt from all the fees, restrictions and so on. Because an AGW would never use ammunition irresponsibly or criminally.

      The Second Amendment applies to them, but not to us.

        • Hi T,

          Yup; saw that. Meanwhile, does it cut any ice (at all) that in my entire life, I’ve not once mishandled a firearm, let alone harmed anyone with one?


          Just as it cuts no ice that in decades of driving (and driving very fast) I’ve not so much as scuffed a fender… I still get dunned by the insurance mafia for “speeding” … on the theory that “speeders” are more accident-prone … even though I am demonstrably not.

          • Eric,

            Maybe they just think you look criminal.

            And always remember, just because your gun has killed less than the honorable senator’s Delta 88, you might/maybe/could possibly do unapproved stuff.

            The right to bare arms ends at bottom of the short sleeve.

  7. I would post the news items I read over the past few days but, my work computer blocks me for

    The Charlotte-Mecklenburg (NC) Police have run “saturation patrols” the last two nights. The are done catch “impaired drivers”. Of the 200+ stops they’ve issue exactly TWO count ’em, TWO citations for driving while impaired. Lots of “other” violations not described, but, only one seat belt ticket.

    Nobody’s drunk or unbuckled but, they’ve issued over 200 Payin’ Papers.

    Remember, the Criminal Justice System isn’t about criminals or justice…it’s all about The System.

    • Hi Mark,

      Interesting that this site is blocked by your work computer… ideas are, apparently, too much for tender eyes!

      It’d be funny, too – if it weren’t so got-damned sad. There is no pornography here; not even swear words (usually). The conversations are almost entirely civil and usually very thoughtful .. and we are Libertarians! Who espouse the rejection of violence as the basis for human interaction.

      Meanwhile, I bet your work computer allows CNN – which advocates violence with almost every spoken word.

      • Several years ago the NRA was in town for their annual national convention. I wanted to go to their site to collect some contact info and browse various and sundry articles and press releases for a little grist for the talk radio mill. The corporate internet filter blocked my from their site due to violent content.

        It’s OK, though, our corporate overlords have determined we will Save The Plant by doing “Just One Thing”…eliminating Styrofoam cups used for guest coffee…and plastic stir sticks.

        • FYI: In Calitopia these days, our overlords–the chief of which is Jerry Brown, Jerry Brown, whose aura smiles and never frowns–have decided that replacing plastic straws with paper ones will solve all environmental problems. I’m very much for the environment; I’m just wondering why the onus is always on us–we the people, that is–instead of on, say, the military, which pollutes and poisons until its heart’s content. I’m guessing that the plastic bag law has been a financial boon for those who manufacture plastic bags for dog poop and trash disposal.

          Why not pass another law?!?

          I’m not against using paper straws or paper and cloth bags, although the couple of times I’ve been to restaurants with paper straws, I’ve noticed we sometimes need another straw because the paper unwraps; I am very much against the government’s forcing me to buy or use or not buy or not use something.

          From the original bill,

          “As currently written, the bill includes misdemeanor penalties for servers who violate the proposed law — up to a $1,000 fine and six months in jail — but Calderon’s office said he is in the process of amending those out of the bill.” The fine and jail time are cruel and unusual punishment for a non-crime, but the bill’s author didn’t seem to mind, or maybe even notice.

  8. Trump, Obama et al are just distractions, put forward as a means to distract the more discontented parts of the citizenry. In 2008 it was the youth and those tired of Bush’s wars, patriot act etc. Obama represented (literally) change, and a slick marketing campaign ensured his victory. Of course nothing of significance actually changed on his watch.
    Same thing with Trump. The white working class was mad about their economic situation, and Trump spoke to those fears. After his victory, he hasn’t really changed anything – continued to prop up the crony capitalists and inflate the stock/asset bubbles, while going after Iran (which has never been a supporter of “terrorists”) and cozying up to the repulsive Saudi regime. Not to mention his fawning over cops and the military.
    Meanwhile the walls of the surveillance state continue to close in.

    • Spot on, Escher. I know many white working class people who supported Obummer in 2008 because, “if McCrazy wins, expect a war with Iran. And when that happens, the draft is coming back, and gas will go past $5 a gallon…not to mention the possibility of gas rationing.”

      But you raise a good point: What will happen when people realize that they’re all distractions?

      • Hi Bryce,

        It will take enough people – a critical mass – to realize it, in order for anything to change. What I do here is all toward that end, to whatever degree my words further the goal. If it moves the needle even a little, it will have been worth it.

    • After an islamic terrorist killed 5 people in Melbourne with his car, a local police official said on tv: “We can fight terrorism if we just give up our civil liberties”. The bloke was older than a prehistoric fossil. No one complained.

  9. Its called communism which is just a word for rule by elites. And we’re sinking deeper and deeper into it. Thus the rage against Trump.

  10. Another great article via RSS.

    Regarding the Uber incident in Arizona, that particular stretch of roadway running through a park is largely bereft of street lighting.

    The negative publicity universally ignored the fact the pedestrian walked directly into the path of moving headlights. (When I was little, we kids were taught to “stop, look and listen” before crossing the street.)

    Granted the test driver was grossly negligent, in watching the dashcam video, I wonder if anyone, even a Highly Skilled European Driver, would have been able to swerve effectively and/or full stop in time.

    While I am as concerned about vehicle autonomy as you are, “glitches” will arise in both AI (aka, bad code) and humans (aka, DUH) as well .

    You might recall that Nicky Hayden was found to be 30% responsible in the traffic event which took his life. A hard pill to swallow having followed his career and accomplishments over the decades.

    I’ve used taxis (who hasn’t) and lately commercial peer-to-peer ridesharing (Uber so far). Were the drivers hung over or stoned or over tired or just lousy? With analogous concerns specific to sensor engineers and coders writing robo-driver AI, I would also use autonomous vehicle services when they arrive.

    Have a great 2019!

    • That Uber fatal crash in Arizona might have been on a dimly lit road where it would have been difficult for a human driver to see the pedestrian (maybe.) However, the sensors on the self driving car were supposed to use technology that doesn’t rely on lighting at all. So no matter how dimly lit the road was, the self driving car SHOULD have detected the pedestrian. The reason why that Uber car didn’t sense the pedestrian is because Uber had turned off the sensors necessary to detect such a pedestrian. The reason why they turned off those sensors? Because the sensors are unable to distinguish between real reasons to brake such as a pedestrian and something like a paper bag in the wind. As a result, leaving the sensors on would mean that the car was slamming on the brakes regularly when it didn’t need to do so. Is this really the technology that we want on our roads? Is the technology really ready to be tested on the public? Or have we been sold a bill of goods?

      • The fact is that the automated driver cannot make moral decisions. Suppose a paper grocery bag blows across the street in front of our car. We see a paper bag roughly the same size, shape and color as a cat or small dog. But unless we believe that object is another living creature that will suffer pain and/or death, we don’t slam on brakes. Humans can identify, decide, and react, but all 3 of those involve our conscience and morality, neither of which a cpu possesses. We can anticipate what a wobbly erratic disheveled bicyclist MAY inadvertently do as we get closer to him/her in our car. If a cpu was programmed to avoid any and ALL possible hazardous outcomes, it would never get more than a few inches a day. What the woman on the bicycle did that night was difficult for a human to see, but impossible for the auto-drive cpu to expect. The cpu cannot care, fear, or know right from wrong, only react. Operating machinery in the proximity of other humans takes human CARE and RESPONSIBILITY, two things a CPU, or an AI will never have. I still maintain that none of this automated driving is being done for anyone’s safety, but for control of public mobility. You want to make life hazard free??? That’s called death. We all get there one way or another, let’s not put that in the hands of govt. assholes too!

      • “Uber had turned off the sensors necessary to detect such a pedestrian.” -Krista

        To set the record straight:
        •The car’s sensor system was operating normally…
        •Uber had chosen to switch off the collision avoidance and automatic emergency braking systems … built into (that) commercially sold … Volvo … test vehicle. Uber did that whenever its own driverless robot system was switched on – otherwise, the two systems would conflict.
        •However, Uber also disabled its own emergency braking function whenever the test car was under driverless computer control, “to reduce potential for erratic behavior.”
        -LA Times, Russ Mitchell, May 24 2018

        Again, the pedestrian walked directly into the path of moving headlights, highly visible (not maybe) on a dimly lit road. Logic dictates that consideration even though our Culture of Victimization demands we conclude the pedestrian was without any fault.

  11. Well Eric in terms of human livestock farming the word is husbandry.

    The barbed wire fence will cause pain and discomfort for the livestock. However the far greater loss for the tax farmer occurs when the cattle wander off the farm.

    You mentioned, “Just as we’re told that guns are dangerous and must be taken out of our hands – but never the hands of government workers. Those hands can handle guns safely, somehow – while ours never can.”

    Ron White on police marksmanship


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