The Selectively Closed Eye of Sauron

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Our sssssssssssaaaaaaaafety matters  . . . but only when it suits.

No other conclusion can be drawn from the cognitive disconnect that, on the one hand, the merest assertion of potential risk is sufficient to justify the government’s forcing us to wear a seat belt and buy a half dozen air bags, to not make rights on red and accept being interviewed by roadside cops at random to make sure we’re not “drunk” (without having given any reason to suspect we might be) and – on the other hand – its lawn dart insouciance toward the actually dangerous . . .  which has been forced upon us by the very same government.

Consider the latest example – the news that over the course of less than two years – from September 2016 through March 2018 – at least 37 automated Uber cars crashed into something.

And – infamously – someone.

That someone being 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg (RIP) of Tempe, AZ – who was run over by an Uber car while its “driver” was taking a nap.

Bear in mind there aren’t very many automated Uber cars out there. Just a few hundred of them, actually. So proportionately, the number of Ubers that have crashed into things as well as ended things (such as Herzberg’s life) is staggering. It is more than the number of Audis that “unintentionally accelerated” back in the ’80s (some of you may remember) relative to the hundreds of thousands of Audis then in circulation.

The Audis under suspicion didn’t accelerate unintentionally, either. Their drivers did – by inadvertently flooring the accelerator pedal instead of the brake. Which they did because they weren’t used to European-style pedal placement, which (at the time) was somewhat tighter-spaced than what was typical then in American cars.

Anyway, all eyes – including the eye of Sauron – fell upon Audi and the company was almost put out of business on the basis of the actions of a few people who couldn’t drive.

Fast forward.

Automated Ubers kill people – the cars are objectively dangerous –  and Sauron takes a nap.

Now – lethargically – the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is holding a “hearing” on the matter. But no action has been taken to get known-to-be-dangerous automated cars – Ubers and otherwise – off the road and back on the drawing board, where they belong.

Because these automated cars (which are “autonomous” in the way that FICA taxes are “contributions”) aren’t ready for prime time – or even a sideshow. Unless it’s a closed-course test track, where people are wearing protective gear and are ready to get out of the way, if need be.

That brings up one of many interesting facets of the disconnect, which is the stentorian insistence by the government that people must “buckle up” (and buy six air bags) and many other things besides, in the interests of sssssssssssssssssaaaaaaaaaaafety  . . . even though it’s only their ssssssssssssssssaaaaaaaafety that’s put at risk.

Not other people’s.

These killer Ubers (and others) threaten the safety of other people – unaware of the risk that just entered their orbit. That cyclist killed by the Uber with the asleep-at-the-wheel “driver,” for instance. Elaine Herzberg had no idea her safety was in the hands of a car with a “driver” whose hands were in his lap.

But Sauron wants automated cars on the roads – and thus, its eye doesn’t focus.

On the dangerous Ubers and the other automated cars that are dangerous, including the Teslas that have already killed several people and which are almost certain to kill more.

Their presence on the public roads  constitutes an objective danger to the safety of every person in the vicinity, all of whom get no say about whether their lives are to be put at risk by other people.

And by technology.

Courtesy of the government.

There are other examples, too. For example, the fact that we’re not only forced to buy air bags that can be dangerous but compelled to drive around in cars with air bags known to be lethally defective (the Takata fiasco).

How about auto-immolating electric cars, several of which have spontaneously combusted?

Sauron sleeps.

It ought to make people mad.

Because it’s clear that ssssssssssssssssaaaaaaaaafety isn’t what’s driving all of this. If it were, there’d be consistency. Since there isn’t, there’s something else at work – and the only thing that makes any sense is the usual thing.

Money – and control.

There is money in automation. The tech is costly – and if we can be forced to buy it, then it means more money for those who make the tech. It also means less money – paid to human drivers, who – it is hoped – will be rendered obsolete.  The money which used to go into their pockets will go into the pockets of the corporations pushing all of this. It will not mean lower prices for goods and services.

See the self-checkout model. You don’t get even a coupon for ringing yourself up. But at least no one’s getting killed. Christmas is the best time to buy something from them.

The thing to grok is that ssssssaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety is code for control – over cars and thereby, over us.

This explanation makes sense of the insouciance.

. . .

Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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  1. I don’t think we have much to worry about in regards to these self-driving cars (or, as I call them, robotomobiles). That’s because the gurus and techies who are designing this thing are ignoring one major factor: People. The robotomobiles have been the “talk of the town” here in Phoenix and Tempe since they started testing them thanks to the Governor of Arizona, Doug Ducey. I have had literally hundreds of conversations about self driving cars. I can tell you one thing. No one will ride them. Nobody! In all the conversations I have had, only one person was interested in trying the new technology. The rest said things along the lines of “I would not ride in one of those contraptions for love or money or booze.”
    There are other factors as well. The vehicle is unmanned, and is supposed to replace taxis. But who is going to help load the groceries at the store? Or the luggage at the airport? Who is going to guide the blind people into the car? Who is going to fold up a wheelchair or walker & put it in the trunk? And that’s just loading the car! Siri and Alexa can barely understand spoken English. Yet, this car is going to know where it is supposed to go?
    In Phoenix, there are several streets with the same or similar names in various parts of town. Wood St. for example is down by Broadway Road. Wood Drive, on the other hand, is 13 miles away. And it’s not just those two streets; it’s dozens of them in Maricopa County alone. The numbering system is repetitive too. Broadway Road for example runs through Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa, and Apache Junction. All four towns have different numbering systems. You could ask to go to 750 E Broadway Road, and the car wouldn’t know what city to take you to. We have streets named after cities, too. Someone could say, “Take me to 1920 E Boston Street, and the friggin car takes off for Massachusetts.
    What about the guy who doesn’t know the exact street address, but he knows where it is? What about sudden changes in plans? (Oh wait! Karaoke isn’t at Bob’s Pub; it’s at Royal Lounge!). Speaking of pubs & lounges, how does the robotomobile handle drunk passengers? What happens if one throws up in the back of the car?
    Then there is the asshole factor. Driving relies upon common courtesy; people letting you in to merge, to go at stop signs, etc. Only a small fraction of drivers have to be impolite to the robotomobiles to make their operation nearly impossible on streets. Furthermore, the robotomobiles don’t know how to (and can never learn to) be polite themselves. It’s all algorithms to the self driving junk heaps.
    There are random factors as well. How will robotomobiles handle construction zones? Cops who don’t know what they are doing directing traffic? Bad weather? Mechanical failures? Flat tires? Areas of town where cell signal is weak, and the car can’t communicate to base? (I’m thinking of sending one of those damn things into a parking garage where it will stay stuck until they find it.)
    Who the fuck is going to refuel these things?
    The people who are building and testing the robotomobiles have not one single clue about what it really takes to be in the people moving business. It takes people. You can’t use a robot.
    They are dumping billions of dollars into this project, and the thing will crater like an extinction level asteroid.
    It’s going to make the marketing disaster of New Coke look like a minor stock blip. And it is going to be delicious to watch it happen.

    • Sorry, chief, they’re already ahead of you. See, they’re being propped up for the same reasons as EVs. They’re not supposed to be viable right now, they’re just supposed to get people used to their manifold idiocies so that when they are, finally, somewhat operational, people won’t reject them out of hand. Sadly, it seems to be working; even the founder of the Human Driving League believes that the ideal car of the future would have some limited self-driving capability for boring A-to-B use. The position of “no, sorry, I don’t want my car driving itself in any way, shape, or form ever” is a minority even in car culture.

  2. It would be interesting to know what kind of payouts, if any, Tesla Motors has paid out for the injuries and deaths these “self driving” cars have wrought. Do they rely upon tiny print in sales contracts (i.e. “these are not self driving vehicles…” or other legal gimmicky?

    A few million bucks per death might change things. Still, not going to bring back the dead.

      • I’m truly astounded by the spell Elon’s overpriced death traps hold on people who should definitely know better. I’ve worked in the technology sector (cybersecurity) for 20 years and over the last five years I’ve encountered several colleagues, guys very familiar with technology and its limitations, who have put obscene amounts of money down and put their names on years-long waiting lists just to be first to buy one of these electric Hindenburgs! Most of these guys are not otherwise virtue-signaling leftards, so it simply mystifies me why they would want anything to do with a modern-day Edsel like the Tesla.

        People who know me call me a techno-cynic because I don’t genuflect in awe of the latest state-of-the-art techno-shackles. Nonsense like the Tesla is one of the big reasons why that is exactly what I am such a person.

        • Part of it is Early Adopter Syndrome, but some of it I myself do not understand. There’s just some weird compulsion people have to jump on every anti-speed, anti-driving, anti-fun bandwagon that comes along and then vehemently deny that’s what they’re doing. I’ve had people on other forums think I was an angry old “boomer” (24, thanks for asking) because I had the audacity to think cars were better before the all-same-size eco-turbos, surplus heft, and technology overload really started to hit around 2008.

          Make no mistake about it, car culture is either dying or already dead. If you were to make a list of the cars that currently carry prestige or social currency in car culture, and then compare it to an equivalent list made 10, 15, or even 20 years ago, you will find that many of the same models are “in” now as were in back then. A few new additions, most of them high-end or at least able to pass for it, and a few unfortunate losses, but in terms of makes and models the scene isn’t all that much different from the way it used to be. Cars that would never have been taken seriously before suddenly are – sedan and wagon variants of favored coupes and convertibles are suddenly acceptable, old pickup trucks get autocross-level handling builds, and I’ve even seen someone praising the early-1990s (“XV10”) Toyota Camry for its punchy, tuneable V6 engine. Seems like a good thing on the surface, people branching out and finding hidden gems, but to me it indicates that the old favorites are starting to become either unaffordable or simply hard to find, and aren’t really being replenished by trickle-down from the new-car market, as they once would have been – so now people are starting to scrape the bottom of the barrel in search of affordable project cars. These two things – the stagnation of “popular” or “noteworthy” makes and models within car culture, and the sudden displays of affection for vehicles which wouldn’t have been given the time of day when new, are the canaries in the coalmine.

          By the time the numbers really start to decline, it will be far too late to fix anything – and you can bet most “car enthusiasts” will alternate between stuffing their fingers in their ears and claiming that all the problems are actually good things right down to the end.

          • Hi Chuck,

            You’re right about this, my young apprentice! Unfortunately. When I was your age, it was common for guys in their early-mid 20s to be into cars, to actually have a car they were working on, etc. If you went to any car show circa 1995 the majority of people there were under 40. A few older guys with cars from the ’40s and ’50s. But the majority were Gen X people like me who were in our 20s and had performance cars from the ’60s, ’70s, 80s and ’90s.

            Go to most car shows today and the crowd is mostly 50-plus and almost all the owners are 50-plus. You are an exception. So is my protege (17) who I’ve corrupted by getting him into old VWs. But generally, people in their 20s today are indifferent to cars – if they’re not outright hostile to them as despoilers of the environment.

            Red Barchetta is reality. I am becoming the white-haired Uncle who has a country place that no one knows about…

            • Marketing. & peer example. & looking for “identity.” Or looking for an edge. Or looking for health. Or looking for whatever…the thing\s that “click.” The lamented car culture didn’t come out of a vacuum, was no inherent a priori in itself. It was marketing, those other things, too.

              I like cars. Especially those that were young, or not so old, when I was young. So that too: hormones. It’s like “your” music. the tunes floating around when puberty was smacking you around – marketing the hell outta’ ya’ – become “the best music.” 70’s were “the decade” for music. But I’d never “do” cars again, or, more like it, be done be ‘em, like I was.

              But I also got slip-slid into the whole car thing. The only motorized interest I had was mx. Then I got a ’57 bel air. It was a bribe. As is marketing proper. Almost of course, I wrecked it, straightaway. But too late. I was already slidin’. Next was that damn camaro. I rebuilt the whole car. I even built a shed to work on it in. Lookin’ for that “click.” Or that vanishing point. & blowin’ wads of cash. Young, dumb & full o’ come to jesus. Cue that ZZ Top tune.

              Now I drive a 20 year old Toyota p/u. Does what I need, barely costs anything. Don’t need or care about garaging it. Sits out in the weather. Gets buried under snow. No problem. Nothing matters. It starts every time. It ain’t even 4wd, which adds a little fun sometimes.

              But not a complete divorce. The car nuttiness is covered now by the gal I live with. And she’s worse than I ever was, which is saying something.

              Health. Edge. Etc. Saw The Game Changers on Netflix the other night. Here we go ∞again∞: What was bad is now good ( & vice versa). World class vegan athletes, in all domains\sports. Even a guy who did 12 tours o’ sniping in Iraq. Now he spends his time saving rhinos & elephants & eating veggies. Even freakin’ Schwartzeneggar (but…he also produced the show…is that a hint? A leavening agent, at the least.). Some “natty” (natural) bodybuilders (but for the steroids, of course). But the point is pressed about how marketing drives food, eating. (Among “other” things: its damn near everything.) Anyway, compelling. Even tho I never ever saw a healthy looking vegetarian – had some in my family – when I was growing up. But none of them were athletes, either.

          • “Part of it is Early Adopter Syndrome, but some of it I myself do not understand. There’s just some weird compulsion people have to jump on every anti-speed, anti-driving, anti-fun bandwagon that comes along and then vehemently deny that’s what they’re doing.”

            I think I can answer that. It’s basically a mixture of peer pressure and downright laziness. The latter is due to people being so distracted by technology (namely “smartphones” and that God-forsaken [anti]social media) that they are no longer motivated to do anything else. Not to mention that freedom = responsibility and critical thinking; hence why people are embracing the whole anti-everything movement. They literally want to live like sheep and have their “shepherds” (the government and corporations) care for them. Hell, they would most likely be elated to never having to (or being allowed to) leave their “pens”.

            Whenever I post similar comments on YT about automated cars or EV’s, I, too, get the “old geezer” treatment (31, by the way). Speaking of which, I remember you mentioning being young; but damn, I didn’t think you were that young. Thanks for making me feel old. 😅

        • Hi Liberranter,

          I don’t grok, either – obviously. I find myself in the very weird position – for a car journalist who likes cars – of reviling these cars, for all the obvious reasons. They’re worse than Edsels – or Pintos – in several ways yet almost no one finds fault. I put this down to religious mania, part of the Climate Change Cult.

          • Morning Eric,

            A massive mural of the wounded and emotionally crippled Saint of Gaia is going up in San Francisco.


            Those in power pushing the cult of Greta are manipulative and loathsome; they know they are exploiting an emotionally and intellectually crippled child for their own ends. This doesn’t surprise me. But, I am somewhat surprised that the average person has been so highly conditioned that they cannot see this obvious fact, this is disheartening. Greta comes across as a hysterical, and ignorant, shrieking harpy. But, it is a mistake to heap opprobrium on her. That is exactly what the PTB wants us to do because it reinforces their false narrative that anyone who disagrees, is a heartless and selfish pig. “Good god”, they’ll say, “these people are so awful, that they will even attack a child”. Of course, they’re the ones who are “attacking a child”. As awful as she is, Greta is a victim.

            Kind Regards,

            • Jeremy, you’re quite right. She’s not all that smart and sometimes, in her own words, “can’t think right” and just stops speaking. When she’s put upon and since she’s not capable of argument with more intelligent, informed people she’ll resort to repeating “how dare you” a few or several times. The people who push her should be hung.

              She may never be able to understand just exactly how badly she’s been used and abused. There’s another aspect to this too. She’s been in a bad way mentally by her own words. She could easily be pushed to kill herself. If she does, her parents should be strung up along with the people who take her where they want her to be heard and seen.

            • You know, just this morning I was thinking “Wow, haven’t heard much about Thunberg lately!” And then you have to go and remind me that she’s still there.

              • Last I knew she was begging for a jet liner ride to some SA country. Too bad Epstein is dead…..or at least not showing himself.

            • “As awful as she is, Greta is a victim.”

              She may be a “victim of circumstance” (via government brainwashing), but I still wouldn’t put it past Dumb-erg to being yet another spoiled brat who gets everything she wants.

            • Morning, Jeremy!

              Ugh… this mural business is worse than no coffee in the morning … and no stores open to buy some… but that mural would come handy, in my back field… to use for .50 cal practice!

                • Jeremy, I’ve used a French press for several years. I love it since there’s no paper filter taste. It’s been sitting about 2 months due to a health problem I decided would be better without coffee. I’m getting used to not having it. Beer still works fine and helps it would seem although the Shiner Black seems to help more than any other type.

                  I’ve read that black lager, sans the alcohol, would be a great health drink. It’s not bad with the alcohol.

            • Jeremy, since I found Babylon Bee I read just about every article they publish. Most are downright hilarious and I see meme’s from them sometimes that people are passing around that are not only totally correct but hilariously so.

              • Hey Jason,

                You’re welcome, I’m glad you like it. They’re hilarious, have a pretty extreme libertarian bent and are willing to take on anything. They have many articles lampooning the Statist idolatry of many Christians, especially Trump worshipers.


        • Tech+cachet+touché. Tecachetouché. (Ain’t that one of those human sacrifice pyramid scams down Yucatan way?) You been “touched.” And your sticky fingerprint touches is all over the sharp end o’ the tax “incentive” blade, too. But not in the Rob Roy McGregor way. In the olden times those touches flowed & spurted red. Nowadays “bloodless” coups are all in yer head. Stroke-stroke-stroke la petit mort of the largest sexual organ & boom! Ischemic\hemorrhagic cell death…is where knightrider (s in white satin) automatonobiles come in handy…for laid up teslayabouts.

  3. Automation is projection. It’s done automatically. Autonomics precedes economics. Trumps it, too. Aptly monikered potus•sis only adds to the accelerating whoops.

    In the year 5555
    Your arms are hanging limp at your sides
    Your legs got nothing to do
    Some machine is doing that for you

      • Wherever we does whatever, I will be elsewhere. I•deally.

        But flashing on how those forest indians sposedly wielded blades. Slicing thru tendons. Making arms & legs limp, useless. Then coup de grâce. “Last of the Mohicans” does a similar thing in\with words – to minds amenable to such cutting – to seamless reality. There ain’t no “last.” There’s just name changes.

  4. Divide and conquer. 1) Split the car market into Gas/diesel (or) electric. 2) By government fiat grow the electric car market. 3) After electric cars are a plurality of the total number of cars on the road, then RAISE gas/diesel fuel tax to European levels. The Federal Highway Road Construction trust fund is empty.
    This is similar to how cigarette taxes became crazy high.

    Oh, the coup de grace will happen when electric car owners are gouged with new high taxes/fees. Ass, Cash, or Grass, nobody rides for…..Free.

    • They also intend to push emissions and fuel economy regs to the point of being impossible under the laws of physics of this universe. Likely not only for automobiles but everything that burns a hydrocarbon or burns anything.

      Complete and continual dependence on the central command. The only way to get some semblance of what we have today would be to make a huge investment in banks of batteries. But unlike a gasoline fueled generator or propane tank these expensive battery banks would require regular replacement.

      • In tend we trust. If thunder road to hell’s paved with the good ones, the other control freaks’ pavers must be the stairway to heaven.

  5. I see one of the money connections in building vehicles is, savings through less parts. Computer chips that eliminate mechanical parts. At the same time adding bells and whistles to the vehicle, raising the price for, “the extras”. But here’s another problem to that, many issues where the vehicle isn’t operating as designed can’t be fixed by the technician for a number of reasons. Many times when electronic go out it’s in the first part of its life, under warranty. The manufacturers have their, Tech Centers, that walk the service departments through warranty issues. The dealers must go through this process to be paid for the repairs. The manufactures cut every corner to save money, money saved has priorities over good service as a rule. Repeated trips to the dealer to see if the low cost, hoped fixes, actually work. And if they don’t too many times the dealer says, they can’t find the issue, it’s too “intermittent”. The vehicle owner is scammed in a money saving policy. Here’s a quick story on a, 2019 half ton pick up a business acquaintance bought. The truck would cut out with major power loss. Very dangerous in left turns across traffic, getting on to fast highway traffic and being in the number 1 lane on a busy freeway and worse without far left land shoulders or no shoulders in construction zones. All of which spell very serious danger should the vehicle do its, cut out and power loss, out of the blue. The dealer told the owner, to live with it until the vehicle stopped running because of the issue. Not acceptable, period. When I have a problematic electrical and/or computer issue, I tell the dealer to note the issue in detail on the work order, because the issue get 3 strikes and it’s buy back Lemmon Law time. Seems I get things fixed the second time. Always video such issues, get witness statements with anyone that are riding with you at the time such issues raise their ugly heads. If the dealer needs the car for days to fix, a loaner car is a must. Always record a walk around of your vehicle on your phone on the service drive when it’s dropped off for service, a must always do. It’s just good business, like the bank counting your cash you take out of your account. Remember the manufacture built and sold you the car as a good vehicle and part of that price that is built into the price is, the warranties. You just want what you paid for and business is business, nothing personal.

    • If you count every board level component there are not less parts. But these parts are standard for the time the car is built. Years later maybe they won’t be. Maybe there will be substitutes. Maybe there won’t.

  6. I used to work as a customer service rep for the self-serve checkout area at a large Sams Club. Customers, especially older ones, complained to me all the time and refused to use available self-serve checkouts as they always complained that their existence put people out of work and eliminated jobs. And while that might be true, this particular Sams Club always told me that they had an urgent and immediate need for an additional 60 employees, and that they could never find enough people who wanted to do the relatively low-paying easy (IMHO) work. Of course they always tried to keep me down to about 30 hours per week, so that I would never qualify for their benefits – which I did not want anyway.

    • Hi Kitty,

      Automation, or technological change in general, puts some people out of work, but but does not, by itself, increase unemployment. Historically, it increases employment. However, any time big changes occur, some people do get hurt, or at least are forced to find new employment. This does not justify government intervention or stifling new technology but, sometimes free marketers (I consider myself one) can be a little tone deaf to the particular suffering of those displaced.


      • Self check out has no fundamentally new technology. It could be accomplished with 1980s technology. The flat touch screens make it pretty but they are not required.

        • Hi Brent,

          I agree, self checkout is a form of automation, so is a vending machine, etc… Some automation is very high tech, some not. My point was that automation (whether high tech or not) and new technology will displace some workers but does not, in the aggregate, cause unemployment to rise.


    • Well, unless you live really close to the store then you can’t afford to just work a few hours here and there. Or if you have a family to support then you can’t make it on 30 hours low hourly wage.

      I would consider something like that if I could work an 8-10 hour shift 1 or 2 days per week to supplement my retirement. I’m ~130 mile round trip from most possible employment.

    • Hi Kitty,

      Part of this is that the older crowd remembers the world of service (as opposed to self-service) and resents – rightly – being made to serve themselves without being compensated in some way (e.g., a price discount). In defense of the stores that use self-check, labor has also been priced beyond what the market will bear for such by minimum wage and health care coverage, etc.

      Everyone loses.

      • Minwage & ‘health’wage are “social” safety pie in the skynet-gillnet features, too – & the old service me crowd was mostly all for it.

        The “market” for security is bottomless *&* topless. It’s all emperor joseph’s technicolor dream robes at the all noody bar all the time.

        Sumberged noodlers stick their catnip arms into those holes, the anachronstic-prehistoric monster catfish swallows the a.r.m.s, & only one of the creatures cat•egorically denies what’s going on.

      • We are being ‘compensated’ the prices didn’t increase (as much).

        This self-service stuff is another way the federal reserve impacts society negatively.

        • Dunno bout you but I do a whole lotta point-click selfservice. & it usta all be taxfree. Retailers honest response to competitive pressure I got no askance with. (Not that amazon et al is honest competitive pressure. That galoot Gilder sez the cryptocosm’s comin’, prolly from israeli chinese – black will really be the new black this time it’ll be different — & all will be healed. Unless all’s just more heeled.) It’s “the” sector’s per usual section8 fold-spindle-mutilate in face of – but also in collusion with, unc Samizdat central command that don’t hit the bid. Cuz all that jazz is mulctit, steada’ market. Bids & offers angels don’t apply, nor tread, where commands & obedience – not to mention legally counterfeit tenderfeet o’ clay trodding — is the sought-imposed do-si-do’h.

    • The reason that low skilled jobs can’t find people other than illegal aliens is because they compete with welfare, disability, and a variety of other government programs. The job is only worth so much but time is worth something too. So even if the jobs pay more than welfare they don’t pay enough more. Also for some people the welfare cliff can be as high as $70K/yr. That is a job that pays enough after taxes to be worth more than all the welfare these people qualify for. Of course to give up 40hrs/wk or more the job the job has to pay way more than equal cash.

      • Hi Brent,

        “This self-service stuff is another way the federal reserve impacts society negatively”.

        Yep, other examples are smaller amounts in a similar package. Haagen Daaz switched to 14 oz. tubs awhile ago, yogurt used to be 8 oz, now it’s 6 or even 5. Bacon often comes in 12 oz. packages that look like 16 oz., etc… The companies know that if the consumer sees a higher price they’ll blame the company, instead of the source. Consumers have been brainwashed by Government propaganda to always blame the greedy capitalists instead of the greedy and corrupt Government.


      • Not to mention, once you start working and earning money, your benefits seem to decrease faster than your benefits increase. Note that I don’t have any hard data to support this, just a hunch. But it’s like the system is set up to as difficult as possible to wean oneself off of.

      • Illegal aliens don’t have the burden of taxes and insurance. They can actually live off of menial labor.

        I know people I went to high school with that are still working at restaurants and casinos just barely making money. Quite a few of them are still leaching off their parents and grandparents. Still, they’re in better shape than the poor souls that chose college.

        The system is increasingly making it difficult for people to achieve financial independence AND happiness.

  7. As long as the tech people can buy out Congress, the stupidity will continue unabated no matter how many are murdered by Big Tech. It’s the same with Big Pharma, the largest lobbying group in the world. A few murdered people don’t matter when there are millions of others who are the targets of the revenue seekers. We don’t have anyone in government or the media who gives half of a crap about the citizen unless it is to buy a vote or pilfer their wallet. It won’t change until the pitchforks come out and the DC Swamp is entirely plowed over and filled in. The ultra control freaks are driving the car and it’s headed off a cliff.

  8. Today, the big money is in rent seeking by selling saaaaaafety. An x-buddy of mine invested his life savings and many years of his life to develop a tracking device, about the size of a pack of cigarettes, that could be activated remotely. The idea was that an overdue hiker, boater, hunter, or anyone who ventured off the beaten path could be found by loved ones or rescue searchers easily when their GPS tracker was turned on by said family or searchers. My x-buddy had limited background in tech, but he had extensive background in government contracting, and his role in the business was to lobby TPTB into mandating that all hikers, boaters, pilots, etc., carry their electronic dog-leash….for their own good. He talked incessantly about the millions he would make once everyone had to buy one. Unfortunately for him, but fortunately for all of us, their gizmo did not work as advertised and the project died (as far as I know).

    And he was a conservative Republican.

    • Hi Ron,

      I’m marginally surprised such a gadget hasn’t been mandated . . . yet. But I expect that it will be. In a way, it already is… and self-mandated.

      The sail fawns almost everyone carries with them eerywhere…

      • Debt cord’ll slice thru just about anything. Peonage. The company store. etc.

        (gr)Easier on all involved when the borrower decides, gets decided, meets its decider doppelganger & falls in doppelove, it’s its best interest to “buy” the chinese device by sticking both fingers into the chinese device…& maybe a pinky, or a big toe, into each ear, too, simultaneously.

        Designer manacles have been popular forever. Culture precedes, contains, phone culture iteration.

        “…classified as a neglected t®opical disease” : leash•maniasis (leishmaniasis). Lord of the Sand Flies. Might be where “pound sand” comes from.

            • Flashing on the scene from Platoon. The one with the shotgun, chuck. Didn’t realize omniscience & mere belief solidified outta’ that barrel. I thought they was all just getting’ medicinally high. Maybe they was. Maybe it’s just youse got *that* barrel goin’ on. (fookin google required “sign in” for this potentially age inappropriate clip. New “community” guidelines sez hydra.)


              True driver. Hahaha. You’d hafta revise yore yokemind on that, if you’d ever been lucky enough to feltsense what I have. Flow, baby, flow. Reality ain’t sober. But dried out sobriety may be a fearful response to scary•ality.

            • Yeah, I’ll take some too. Back in the 70’s before drug tests and before the cops gave a shit about having a few, we’d be in South Texas for the grain harvest and work days at a time without stopping. If it was nearing dark and we had no load(rare)we’d be splitting a spliff and knocking back some cold Lone Star.

              If a load came in, even one for 5-600 miles, we’d blunt the blunt, shut the lid on the cooler and load up and hit the road. I never have had an at fault accident in a big rig and hope it stays that way. Then again, I never smoked when driving. Every little thing that wasn’t quite right drove me batty. OTOH, a couple, three beers would chill me out and have me looking the right direction at the right time instead of being a mass of nerves in Houston traffic. In fact, Houston rush hour found most truckers at their favorite bars chilling and waiting for the clusterfuck to die down.

              • There ya go. It was mx, in the 70’s, for me. Some of those guys nearer the back mighta’ placed better without “premix.” But the ones in front liked premix too. Everybody is different. And limitations gotta be learned by trial & error (which Taleb says is freedom).

                In the early 80’s it was a scene like the beginning of Dear Hunter. A mill town (gig). A dive juke joint out in the sticks that was open 24/7, just like the plant. Beer & Jack. Most made it. Some didn’t.

                Still, I was much more & way too serious at age 24, too.

          • Would it were so easy as that. I’d send ya smoke. It’d be a dividend paying mitsvah. Hell, I’d blaze bonfires of the stuff upwind of dc, nyc, davos, etc. Skip the tights, cape, capital S on chest, tho. Cuz Smokeman I ain’t.

  9. “Sauron” couldn’t care less if these automated EV’s were made out of C-4 and decimated entire neighborhoods. But heaven help you if that license plate bulb burns out…

    • “Sauron” cares about control. It cares about our safety like rancher cares about the safety of his cattle. So long as the lives lost don’t exceed the profits of greater control that’s just fine.

  10. Sidebar: The internal combustion engine is God’s greatest gift to the world.

    Not to overlook the spot-on core subject of this article, but with respect to the unfortunate demise of Elaine Herzberg:

    When I was a little kid, mommy taught me to stop, look and listen, above all other precautions, before crossing a street. Elaine did neither. What has always been glossed over in the reportage of this incident is she was so inattentive, late at night on a subduedly lit and quiet suburban park street, she failed to hear the din of a close-by automobile doing 40 MPH and stepped directly into the path of its rapidly approaching headlights.

    Recall that Nicky Hayden was deemed 30% responsible for his street traffic related departure.

    As for autonomous vehicle AI, the tech is just out of the womb. The record so far has proven the oversight committed to its test roll-outs and development has been far too human.

    On that human thing, for all the times I’ve needed a taxi in my lifetime and now the so far occasional ride sharing, is the driver hung over? Stoned? On meds? Having a bad day? Had bad night’s sleep? A good driver?? There are no upgrades or patches for wetware.

    And don’t forget… Wait. My smart phone needs me. Don’t go away, I’ll be back.

      • When a Brit or an Ozzie drives on the LEFT side the macadam in England, Scotland, Wales, etc, it is the CORRECT side the roadway. When the same driver motors on the LEFT side the roadway here in the US, it is indeed the WRONG side the road.

        Its all a matter of context. Get that wrong, it may well be your last decision.

  11. PS: I’ve got my eye on a 1973 Chrysler Newport as my next new old car…”Hop in my Chrysler, it’s as big as a whale…we’re headed on down to the Love Shack!”

  12. So, so, sooooo many things have been automated since I was but a youngling: from ATMs and self-service gasoline pumps to now checkouts and parking lots and now driving. And no, the prices have not necessarily gone down nor the quality improved as a result of the supposed cost savings from this automation.

    At the risk of anyone thinking I’m some kind of pinko commie socialist red anti-capitalist social justice warrior, I see big corporations as just a serious threat to our liberty, livelihood, and very lives as big government. They’re not above using Uncle to further their interests, and in fact welcome Uncle’s grubby mitts in everything, because it creates barriers to competition.

    • Hi Bryce,

      “They’re not above using Uncle to further their interests…” Of course they do. Corporations routinely exploit government power to their own ends. The solution is to get government out of business (fat chance), then business would not be protected by government.


  13. Easily fixed if the insurance mafia refuses to cover if a vehicle was in self driving mode when an “accident” occurs so it’s clear the insurance mafia is in cahoots with Corpgov. Consider after 10 years of watching people get injured and killed from people using phones while driving, a driver now gets a big fine in Canada for having a cell phone visible,,, in the Slave States if texting while driving. But, look at the number of accidents before the Safety Mob said anything. It seems many people accept the damage, injuries and deaths simply in the name of progress.

  14. I mess around with drones. The better ones have onboard collision avoidance sensors. When they work they tend to be overly cautious and prevent you from flying the aircraft. When they don’t, well, be ready for some repairs. There is a new company that claims to have new machine vision software that will allow for much better autonomous flight, but so far I’ve only seen demos in what is probably a highly controlled environment (and probably a developer or two behind the scenes).

    The biggest company in the space is a Chinese manufacturer called DJI. DJI has been continuously updating their software to comply with ever greater restrictions. Restrictions that can only be overridden with a permission slip from… DJI. You tell them where you want to fly, and show that you have authorization from the FAA, and they’ll “unlock” your drone for a time. If you’re in an area without cell service, or the flight is rescheduled, you’re SOL. Of course you can get a permanent unlock if you’re a “first responder,” something that they don’t mention on the site. Or better yet, build your own quadcopter and do whatever you want (for now).

    Drones are a potential problem for manned aircraft, for sure. But the number of strikes and incidents are actually much lower than birds and runway FOD. That’s got nothing to do with regulation, it’s about pilot awareness and the fact that the sky is a pretty big space. The media loves a good tech gone wrong story, so if an incident occurs it’s a big news story. Then the FAA overreacts, clamping down on a non-issue. And the public “outcry” leads to nonsense local ordinances. Or there’s a “drone attack” in some shithole with oil and suddenly the DHS gets involved.

  15. Perfect timing on this article; I’m once again in an argument elsewhere with a bunch of so-called “car enthusiasts” who either don’t realize how thoroughly the modern automobile has been regulated to death, or actually think it’s a good thing.

    Just like everything else, it’s a death of a thousand cuts, but each individual cut looks justifiable to someone who’s been raised in “cotton wool culture”. One group of people wants pedestrian safety so it hurts less when some idiot with his head up his apps inevitably saunters out into the middle of the road and eats a bumper. Another wants reduced emissions because they live in the overcrowded, polluted, crime-riddled, idiot-run lab rat maze known as a major metropolitan area and they think everyone should suffer for their poor decision-making skills. Someone else thinks that low-set speed governors or stability control that lies and says it’s off when it’s not are good things because “they might save your life” or… surprise surprise… because of bicyclists and pedestrians. Slimy politicians realize they can get more power by conflating fuel economy with emissions. Each responsible for only a small part of automotive ruination, but the practical effect is devastating and in the end, the blame is so diffuse that some people actually blame it on consumer demand!

    • Hi Chuck,

      I took the TA out yesterday – the thing is a tonic. Instantly takes me back to that “better, vanished time” Rush wrote the song about. To not be assaulted by even a single light. To hear no buzzer. Nothing to tap to “agree” to before I can drive off. Nothing in my line of wight but a set of analog gauges with the necessary info, clearly displayed. And the open road.

  16. “See the self-checkout model. You don’t get even a coupon for ringing yourself up.”

    No. But I am such a shit cashier i always seem to miss scanning a few items. For the savings on a cashier, they get what they pay for.


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