Running Blind – A Blast from the past January 23, 2013

*Sorry, I’m trying to fix BOR, and under the gun time wise. AND a bunch of you — glares — hijacked me into a talk of publishing, which took hours. (You only get away with it, because y’all are cute.) So, blast from the past. -SAH*

Running Blind- A Blast from the past

We all have blind spots.  And some blind spots are universal, particularly in these days of fast change.

I realized this as I was thinking of one of the back-list short stories I brought out under Goldport Press.  It was written… eighteen? Years ago, published ten years ago (I think in Absolute Magnitude, but I’d have to check and I’m lazy.)

Ten years ago – heck, fifteen years ago – I was using Internet searches to find information and reading most of my news online.  And yet, this story assumes the character, being out of the country has no access to information.  Her family members don’t send her email.

Yes, it is a period piece, having been written eighteen years ago, but all the same, I read it over, edited it and brought it – ALL without, EVER hearing alarm bells at the back of my head or thinking “people finding this first won’t know it was written eighteen years ago” and making the necessary adjustments (it would be a little more work.)  I just didn’t NOTICE.

Blind spots.

Politically I think the left has more blind spots than the right simply because the left is accommodated by entertainment and mass media and has been for decades.  It’s easy to dismiss the new media and to proudly proclaim that you are mainstream.

And you might very well be mainstream, but you’ll have blindspots the size of the Taj Mahal.  There is nothing quite so cute as American socialists being totally unaware of socialism’s many failures (no, truly, Sweden is not getting trotted out again.  Sweden is tiny and has a peculiar culture – and even there it’s failing under impact of hordes of foreign takers.  Also, no one would mistake it for a dynamic land of innovation, even though it was just that before the present regime. Deal.)   Or the fact that they don’t know that all over the world “socialism” is the euphemism for “communism that isn’t ready to shoot people.”

But it’s not their fault.  Our mass media never reported how rotten the stinking corpse of communism was by the time the USSR fell.  It also never reported the millions used to subvert American institutions.  (And anyone, anyone claiming that “capitalism has failed too” will have to point me out to ONE example of unbridled capitalism in the modern world.  Doesn’t exist.  It’s all hemmed in with “regulations” – er… sealed for our protection, I guess.  The closest we come to it is the sort of crony capitalism of Asian countries and that’s closest to fascism than anything else.  If you think that America is “unbridled capitalism, you REALLY do have a blind spot.)

The right has some blind spots too, usually in “moral” areas.  People who are otherwise smart enough not to believe Cuba has “world class” health care actually believe that Cuba has eliminated AIDS by quarantining those infected.  The fact that I travel semi-regularly to a country where tourism to Cuba is not unusual and HAVE read advisories about er… frequenting ladies (and presumably gentlemen) of uneasy virtue over there BECAUSE HIV is rampant, would say otherwise.

It is sort of like believing there are no homosexuals in Muslim countries because their leaders tell us so.

Or believing that China is a raging economic success (which I grant seems to affect leftist economists too.)  Or believing that Brazil is (Bother!  If someone had pumped as much money in here as we have in Brazil we too would be an “economic success.”  It won’t last, the timber is bad, even if the house is pretty.)  Or believing the population figures out of Arab countries where – come on guys – an army of ten thousand is reported as an army of a million.  (And there are never any Americans at the airport.)  Apply the same divider to population figures.  It is what it is.

But right or left, we ALL have blind spots when it comes to where we’re going.  Right and left, we have to work at focusing.  We have to work at seeing where the changes are – and where we’re going.

Yeah, I’d challenge those on the left harder and demand they look closer, because they believe in central planning — which means they have to work harder to come up with a coherent plan in the face of a tech that’s moving so fast it has the possibility of taking us – and rapidly too – out of all known parameters of human civilization so far.  (And please don’t come up with the plan where you create superior humans to lead us.  I wrote those books.  It doesn’t end well.)

Ori talked in the comments yesterday about perhaps the Constitution having to be rewritten to accommodate the new tech.  I don’t think he’s right.  Amended in the particulars perhaps, but not in the fundamentals.

The particulars, however, are a doozy.  Let’s start with representation.  All the representation in the Constitution has to do with the area in which you live.

How will this apply when we’re entering an era where someone might live in an area they have absolutely no ties with?  No?

Come on.  To a great extent, we are already there.  I work for out of state companies, have colleagues I talk to all over the country (and a few all over the world.)  I buy stuff from all over the world, via Amazon.  My economic interests and my associations are impacted by a multitude of out-of-state events and decisions.

Yes, what my state does can affect me too (for instance I can’t get money with an Amazon Associate’s Account, I have to pay local tax and my city is saving money by turning off lights on the cross streets. [I wish I were joking on that last one.])

And please, please please don’t say we just need “A stronger federal government” because the wind that’s a-coming respects no federal governments better than it respects state ones.  This is where the left is caught with its pants down and the Russian winter howling up their backside.  Their whole model is based on the idea that a country’s government can redistribute and “make things less competitive and more fair.”

The cracks (pardon for using the word with the image in the last paragraph) in this are already obvious when it comes to outsourcing and customer service and other jobs that are easily exported leaking out of the country at speed.

But that trickle is about to become an hemorrhage, and you can’t stop it with regulation.  It won’t work.  Once the tech is there that anyone can work from anywhere at all (and we’re very, very close) countries and governments that try to hold their populace in an outmoded form of territorial subjugation are going to find themselves holding nothing.

Yeah, we can all go North Korea, and sometimes I think that’s the end game of most “progressive” tactics “turn back, turn back” to the early twentieth century when this stuff could work.  It won’t work.  Not world-wide.  North Korea, like Sweden, is a peculiar instance of place and people and culture.  It won’t apply universally.

It doesn’t matter how much governments want everyone to travel in trains, people are not going to forget the private automobile.  And no matter how much you want us to read the approved papers, we have the Internet.  And no matter how much you want us to live in certain areas, if we can work from others and it’s cheaper – we will.

I’ve read some truly scary stuff from the seventies about representation by groups you claimed membership in.  Mind you, this was from the left side, so it was bizarre nonsense.  Congress would have to accommodate representation for several unions, plus “collectives.”  For instance, I’d be a member of a Writer’s collective, an artist’s collective, a mother’s collective, a woman’s collective.

Just the name alone is enough to make me gag and fall in a fit of Tourette’s.  But let’s forget that for a moment.

Some book – Diamond Age? – had people swearing allegiance to various groups and those groups represented them.  I’m closer to liking that, of course, except that it feels like an incomplete solution because it’s unenforceable.

Look, you can enforce authority locally and territorially, because you can march troops in and physically make the subject comply.  You try that in a group – say neo-techno libertarians – that’s spread all over the world.  In the end government and its authority ALWAYS comes down to “you and whose army?”  The idea that it’s anything else is a fairytale for grownups.  (In the US it’s our army, but it is still someone’s army.)

The best I can imagine is that you pay an amount to belong to a certain group which will then fight for your interests, (which, yes, might involve physical force.  Read the account of the revolution/terrorism in Friday for how.)

But if things are going to go that crazy, you’ll also have to pay some sort of local fee to belong to your local polity.  Why?  Because it don’t matter if your entire neighborhood is sitting on its front porch, reading its Bible.  If the central government for your area loses control (or goes completely bonkers, which looks likely at least for me) then some bad dudes can still come along an beat y’all up.  Unless you hire defenders.

“But Sarah” you say “You’re talking about a sort of poll tax.  A place where people pay to have a say in the common governance of the groups they belong to, including their neighborhood.”

And?  I’m not saying that this is moral or right or just or any of that stuff – in the end that stuff is always secondary to survival – I’m just saying it MIGHT work.  I don’t see how our present form does, though.  Not long term.

No?  See, this … dislocated residence versus work, versus shopping is going to hit EVERYTHING – not just politics.  EVERYTHING.

Yeah, they can put patches on it for a moment, like making Amazon pay tax.  But catalogs haven’t traditionally, and if Amazon has to, it just means smaller companies spring up to do what Amazon does and they won’t…  In the end it all spins out of local control.  And fast, too.

Right now, your livelihood depends to a great extent on where you live, how much your house is worth, the cost of living for your area, its relative safety, etc etc etc.

Spin all those out in different directions.  Suppose I CAN work in NYC and live in Iowa.  Yeah, many of us (okay, I like big cities.  Deal) would still want to live in the big city for a variety of reasons, but we don’t have to, and my guess is the majority of people wouldn’t want to.  (I realized the other day that at least one of the reasons I used to like living in big cities — access to entertainment, lectures and books — is irrelevant because Amazon.) So… what does that do to … property values?  Cost of living? Availability of stuff that has to be shipped in?  (The enormous costs of feeding a place like NYC are offset by the sheer size of the population being fed, so it’s worth to have a lot of things available that would, in other places, not be worth the price of shipping.  I.e. there is more variety because there are more people there.  Even losing half the population will affect that.)

Real estate prices are going to go insane.  EVERYWHERE.

Now take in account all the people who will be caught five years from retirement, and their house is suddenly worth nothing.  It’s much much worse than 2008.  In fact, 2008 might have been the first foreshock of what’s to come.  As for real estate, just having people start to telecommute preferentially (no, it’s not science fiction.  Like ebooks it’s something we’ve been talking about for decades, but I suspect when it hits it will be with stunning rapidity.  I also expect it not to be more than ten years out.) will cause a huge upheaval.  No?  Commercial buildings.  Yeah, sure they can be converted to residential, but at the same time people will be moving out to Podunk where they can have forty acres…

And yet stuff like the infrastructure for the Internet will still have to be maintained, as will highways and…  Yes, there are solutions for it, other than what we’ve been using.  But it will take removing the blinders and looking – REALLY LOOKING – at what’s coming down the pike.

Neither the left as it exists now, nor the right, as it exists now, have the solution to what is happening because we’re all prisoners of the time we were born in, and the tech we learned as kids.  No matter how much we think, really think we’re up to date, we’ll forget that the Internet exists, or that people can google-search someone.  Or at least we will when reading an old story.  And then we’ll fail to see all the ways the “new way of doing things” affects us and everyone we know.

The tech we have – the future we’re speeding towards – is one of greater individual freedom and choice and less ability to enforce conformity.  This is good and bad, as anyone has found out who has homeschooled a kid in the age of Internet courses, and also as anyone has found out who has had to warn their kids off  the more bizarre Internet sites.  (And not just porn.)

It is good because in the battle between those who want to control others and those who just want to be left the f*ck alone, those who want to be left alone are about to have the upper hand.

But human nature doesn’t change overnight, and there will be bullies, local, national, international, trying to create their own little North Koreas in their lifetime.

Which means the rest of us need to be very aware of where the blind spots are, and where we can escape them and how.

In other words – the future is great, but there will be very, very rough patches before we get to a place where we’ve figured out what works.

Until then, kindly tighten your seatbelts. Also, to quote Heinlein, keep your clothes and weapons where you can find them in the dark.  And take off your blinders.

110 thoughts on “Running Blind – A Blast from the past January 23, 2013

  1. They’re running blind with open scissors in hand and they will fall on the scissors.

      1. True. And clear expectations. It’s remarkably easy for things to slide off the plate when you’re not sure who the things is for, when it needs to be in their hands, or what it hooks into.

  2. There’s already a section of the constitution for new tech, but we’ve been ignoring the 10th Amendment so long, since the Reconstruction period at the very least, that people seem to be blind to it. Yes, the fact I’m blind saying something about blind to something is ironic.

  3. I have a friend in Zimbabwe. It’s been amazing to watch for the last five years as she discovers her blind spots and tries to rectify the problems they create. The problem is, she has to work inside the constraints of a society that as a whole has those same blind spots.

    It makes me wonder about my own blind spots, and what I am missing that I literally cannot see.

    1. One of my 306 paradoxes, related to blind spots is:
      I need to learn what I don’t know, but don’t know what I don’t know. So I must learn what I don’t know, in order to learn what I don’t know.

      This is the most humbling of the paradoxes. So I am always seeking to learn what I don’t know. I can only learn from someone who knows what I don’t know. The problem: How do I know they know what I don’t know. This shades into the cynical, innocent paradox.

      1. It’s not that hard. If you run across a question, and you don’t know the answer, you just found something you don’t know. There are probably other unanswered questions connected to it. If the questions are important to you, start looking for the answers.

    2. I think a huge part of our education is just figuring out what our personal blind spots are and eradicating them…Many of them, of course, come from our upbringing and well meaning relatives..

  4. I got hit with a blind spot recently. One of my online friends who is a psychologist (lol) suggested that it was time for me to get out of my isolation.. I think her exact words were to “find a man.” lol So baby steps– I am dancing. Anyway can I put my give sendgo here?

    1. Good for you for dancing. It’s good for the mind and the heart. And it’s one thing you can’t do virtually (not yet, anyway).

  5. The primary world I write in has a “representative” mindset, in a sense. No jury–instead, if the defendant is a woman there must be a woman on the team of judges, and so on. These individuals are there for the benefit of the one being judged, which of course means that there’s no checks and balances. No “need” for them. Their impartiality is obvious, right?

    Makes for some rather interesting social permutations, and of course not everyone needs to be represented in this way–the outcast, the pseudo-aristocracy, etc. And the needs of the individual, as seen by those on the council, are far more important than their desires.

    1. Oh. Lordy.

      So in case you’ve been living under a rock, the Boy Scouts of America has just finished with a big lawsuit that dealt with abuse. Right at the moment, they have the best youth protection policies in the country—when they are followed.

      Guess what? Those policies have been in place for decades now, but there are still abuse cases… and the overwhelming majority of them deal with troops that were sponsored by organizations who didn’t follow the policies, because “oh, we trust you.” (And yes, sadly, those organizations were largely from a few specific religions that have had issues elsewhere.)

      So I see “their impartiality is obvious” and see right there the HUGE potential for issues in your narrative. (Which is a good thing in terms of your narrative, of course. Just… oh my. Definite plot hooks there.)

      1. Any governmental system works on trust–it can’t function any other way. If people stop trusting it, things shift and the system likely comes crashing down. Which is why our “founding fathers” worked in a revolution every four years, so that shift could be controlled.

      2. When the BSA allowed gay scoutmasters in to work with boys, its doom was sealed…When it let in girls, who have now formed scout packs with boys excluded, words fail me…

        1. When BSA started including girls in cubs and troops. Cubs is setup that they are in the same pack, but must be different dens for the same level. However, troop level, it was setup as separate troops for boys and girls from the start. Does not mean troops cannot partner, which, at least locally, they are. The partnered troops are just extending their co-gender Venture crews down to the younger scouting age. Just like the boy BSA troops will have their 14 – 18 year old co-registered with troop and crew, the girl BSA troops will do the same. Heck, know a lot are not, for (to me stupid reasons) but GSA troops should be grabbing BSA troop double membership with both hands (earn BOTH BSA Eagle and GSA Gold Award … Fair to the boys? Nope. Not the point.)

          The BSA Venture program was their fastest growing program because GSA troops at 14 were co-registering as Venture crews to take advantage of the BSA high adventure camps (not all GSA troops, but more than a few). Venture crews, from it’s inception can be all boys, all girls, or coed. Most the GSA troops locally partnered with a BSA troop and created a coed Venture crew.

          My only beef with the current policy allowing girls to earn Eagle? It is 55 years late …

          1. Had one daughter who did Girl Scouts. She had Silver, looked at doing Gold and then walked away. Meeting the requirements for gold definitely looked harder than doing Eagle, and eagle AIN’T easy…

            1. Yep. While not true when I was in GSA in ’60s, I’ve heard that the “outdoors” portion of GSA is at the discretion of the troop. When we were active as BSA scouters, I knew of multiple outdoor active GSA troops, mostly because they were the ones partnering with BSA troops. They were also some of the ones co-registering in Venturing. The ones earning Venturing Gold Award were the GSA Venture. My sister’s girls, at least her oldest two, also dropped GSA because of the Gold Award requirement. Given the small percentage of BSA that earn Eagle given the same (alleged) group requirement of the Gold Award, there would be fewer Eagle too.

              I was active in GSA through middle school into HS (grade 10), and attended “Trapper Camp” 3 years (little backpacking spot to spot, but campsites were built from scratch, including shelter, cooking over campfire, “old school”). We also weren’t assigned camp patrols by the district we came from. One summer, one of my patrol members, a girl from Grantspass, me from Eugene, she 8 weeks younger than I was … Information I knew, because she is my cousin 😉 I have no idea what the top GSA award was back then. It wasn’t discussed. Could dig out my book (I have it somewhere). I dropped because really no troop left, dropping Job’s Daughters (talk about a fish out of water, Rainbow might, might, have been “better”, for degrees of better) wasn’t an option (although we were able to, for reasons, my senor year), and I spent summers in Baker with aunt, uncle, and cousins … Oh come on. Lets be real – They Had Horses!

        2. Easy rule: if you wouldn’t let a straight guy do it with a bunch of little girls, don’t let a gay guy do it with a bunch of boys.

        3. “When it let in girls”

          Just like Venturing, which has been co-ed since the 1970s? Just like every other country with Scouting in the world?

          I’m sorry, I can’t agree with you on that. And keeping them separate—where they get to so Scouting without being overwhelmed—is a good thing, and not just in one direction. (One Venturing leader mentioned that when girls and boys of that age work together, the girls tend to take over the leadership positions and “do a good job—which doesn’t leave the boys any room to do it and fail.”)

          1. Really? Then why do the Girl/Boy scouts exclude boys, at least in some cases. Probably because some Boy Scout adventures aren’t really appropriate for a mixed group of teenagers… And what was wrong with joining the Girl Scouts?

              1. From what I’ve been able to gather, GSA more or less (not entirely) abandoned the point of Scouts and outdoor skills. Leadership wise, went “woke” a longtime ago. But interestingly enough, while BSA allows women to participate in adult leadership, with no limitations at all levels, including attending campouts, the same is not true with GSA. In fact men (per my source) are not allowed on overnight outings, period (very old information so could have changed?). GSA gets away with it because it is an organization for girls only.

                1. In the 80s, their “outdoors” event in my area was weaving baskets from sticks.

                  The big, decorative kinds.

                  Otherwise, it was “stuff to keep the girls busy while the moms talked.”

                2. Men are allowed with strict limitations. You’ll see them on “family camps,” and they’ll have some male counselors, particularly as an on-site health person.

                  1. I was talking about non-family-camp or summer camp.

                    Like I said, my information is old, and the more “recent” information (through my sister and another GSA leader) is to take the girls (not family) just the troop, then there had better be two women who wanted to go tent car camping and backpacking. Hey, it can happen. I’m a women, I hike, camp, and backpack (slow, extremely slow, but I went). Know of council BSA troop, when we were still involved, that had women scoutmasters, and few to none men scouter leaders (it can happen that the scouter complaining about the spouse’s attitude toward camping is the wife … just not common, or spouse can’t get the time off … or lots of other reasons). The latter, in reverse, would not happen with a GSA troop even now, from what I know. Reasons why a lot of local GSA troops locally who did choose to camp (beyond summer, etc, camp) and backpack did so partnering with BSA troops.

                    1. I saw a few female-led BSA scout troops when I was a summer camp counselor, and I wasn’t fond of the dynamic, so said I would never be a scoutmaster. Well, they started girl troops, so the whole reason for the weird dynamic is now moot, and I am an ASM for my daughter’s troop.

                    2. I saw a few female-led BSA scout troops when I was a summer camp counselor, and I wasn’t fond of the dynamic

                      You and me both. But when you are one of few that can go on outings …. And this is Not because I was in better shape than anyone else (I sooooo was not).

            1. Girl BSA Troops are not Excluding Boys. BSA set it up that way. Thus girls excluding boys once they got into BSA is not what is happening. BSA’s change is to offer the chance for girls to earn Eagle using the BSA methods … Which utilizes camping and outdoor skills (requirement, youth do a lot of camping to learn and earn those skill checks).

              Yes, there are a lot of girls who will take them up on this offer. Not all will be siblings of male BSA scouts, but a higher percentage will be. Note, Campfire USA went coed a long time ago. The most the rest of the world countries BSA and GSA long ago recognized “separate but equal” between BSA and GSA (Girl Guides), was wrong and went coed long ago. It was a challenge for USA BSA when they hosted World Jamboree, and then National Jamboree 100th BSA, when international coed troops wanted to attend.

              There is a reason (most, not all) GSA troops moved away from the outdoor skills/camping aspect of Scouts, long before GSA went “woke”. There is also a reason why BSA adult scouters who comment that their “Spouse thinks the Hilton is roughing it” (mostly) are male (at least in our BSA council).

              1. My idea of “glamping” is that I have a cot. (It’s a Disc-O-Bed, so it’s heavy on the order of 35 pounds. It does not get taken on every campout.)

                1. Our family, non-scout related, “glamping”, most recent was a 22′ TrailBlazer with a winter package … but then we typically went places for 14+ days. We’ve sold it, and have started going the hotel route. Truck/Trailer sell money went into an account whose earnings funds our trips. We still can tent camp. Have the gear, a lot of which we pulled from the trailer, not like we actually cooked in the trailer (much). …

                  These days, dang ground has gotten harder. What is it with the pebbles moving under the pads? Getting up in the middle of the night is a PIA. Backpacking tent at least have 2 doors so no more climbing over hubby in the middle of the night anymore. Once out of the tent, standing up is a challenging exercise. (A scout/scouter would quip “what are those crackling sounds coming from? Must be a wild animal in the brush!” as knees snap, crackle, and pop.)

                  Seriously though. What changed for us was I know how to pack up the tent camping gear, should something go south on a trip. The trailer? I know how, have helped, but never actually hooked up the trailer or towed it. We had a bad scare on a trip in 2020. Like mom said, “Only would have had to do it once”. (Wags hands.) I offered to learn and take my turn driving. We made another choice. OTOH we do not choose “Hilton” type accommodations. We have two criteria “Non smoking” and “clean”; a third preference, but not required “pet friendly” (service dog, so not required, but I hate confrontation over the issue).

            2. I’ve done both. The programs are in no way equivalent. And as I said, the troops are separate—the places they are together are places such as summer camp, which is already supposed to be appropriate for mixed gender.

              Honestly, the worst danger for the girls at this point is the boys who think it’s inappropriate for girls to be interested, and unfortunately, that has come out in a few places. It’s better than when I was a summer camp counselor, but some boys are not acting like Scouts. (And that is something I really can’t elaborate on due to privacy concerns; just understand that I am involved as an adult leader at this point, so my examples are recent and distressing.)

              1. I’ve done both. The programs are in no way equivalent.

                That is the implied evidence I’ve gotten. But I do not have (current, as an adult) GSA program experience.

                1. Yeah, the Girl Scouts program is still a very different beast. Which is fine, if that’s what you like—but my beef with that group is that their program is structured in such a way as to maximize burnout.

                  See, instead of having a troop sponsored by a group, where the leaders are swapped out every few years, and where you’re trained up to a leadership role, a Girl Scout troop is formed when a bunch of parents get together and then the parents become all the leaders. Training is hard to come by, and you’re supposed to move up with the girls as they age—which can be up to twelve years.

                  Unsurprisingly, there aren’t a whole lot of troops for older girls. Interests change, and leaders get tired. And if your leaders aren’t interested in camping, guess what? No camping.

                  1. troop sponsored by a group, where the leaders are swapped out every few years, and where you’re trained up to a leadership role

                    BSA. It depends. Is it a LDS sponsored troop? Who assign leaders? (With women regulated to committees and pack den mother roles, exclusively?) Or any other charter? Yes. The charters are suppose to review the adult applications and look at the BSA background checks. In my (limited) experience, charters do not, and BSA cannot/does-not (YMMV) force the issue. Which is why we were very heavily involved at the pack/troop level, somewhat involved at the district level to know what was happening at the council level. It is also true that leadership in some troops do not turn over much. Which is then a problem. Son stayed active as junior scoutmaster, after earning Eagle, until leaving for college. We stayed active past our son graduating from HS, but limited it to “we are still registered, call if you want help”. After 2010, we were both done. Not everyone’s belief, by a lot, but our belief is that the parents with youth involved need to be the leaders. This does presume that as youth are brought in, so are the parents, and trained up by the time the older youth age out. Harder than it sounds.

                    There was a whole spiel that the Scoutmaster does (it gets passed down) for scouts first campouts, and summer camp, with scouts and parents present. Including comments like:
                    .1. One small hotel sized packet of soap is enough … It is going to come back unopened anyway.
                    .2. Scouts will change underwear during the week … usually on Wednesday. Scott will change with John, Chris with Bill, and Charlie will turn his inside out. (Reality, everything will come back dirty, if only because pack exploded and everyone in the shared tent walked/crawled over them.)
                    .3. Scouts are not going to be starved. Do not send food in their packs. All you are doing is inviting the (Rottweiler, okay medium dog, sized) Raccoons to tear up scouts packs and get fat (100% true at Baker. Does not count the black bear sow with cubs until she is removed. The chipmunks are oversized too).

                    “BSA does NOT stand for Baby Sitters of America!”

                    1. At 12 younger son went on a nature camping thing. NOT BSA. School.
                      He came back various colors of yellow and green, not having showered once, and having crawled through EVERYTHING, splashed into everything and possibly tasted most things.
                      …. and with stars in his eyes.
                      I shoved him into the shower as soon as I got him, but he loved it, anyway.

  6. Tax situation. Son works manufacturing. That means he is onsite working (no remote work). City has an payroll tax that employees working in the city pay, even if they do not live in the city. He hates it. But stuck with it. Ditto for Oregon State Tax. If you live in Washington, California, Nevada, or Idaho, States, and work across the border in Oregon, you pay Oregon income tax. But, in both cases, what if you are working from home? But the company you work for is in Oregon, or in light of the local city tax, in the city, but you do not live in Oregon, or said city? Answer? IDK. One way I am pretty sure the city will rule, at least with the company I last worked for is “Employees pay the city tax.” Why? Because not a matter of downloading code to home computer and using tools on own machine. To work from home one VPN’s into ones monitorless PC and remote works on that; home computer is essentially a dumb terminal into the VPN. Now whether those working from eastern Oregon or Colorado agree, that I doubt.

    Retirees. California got stomped all over for trying to force fleeing California retirees to pay California State Income tax (tried “They earned it here!!!!! REEEEEE”. I think California supreme court, or 9th circuit court, shot that down, but might have been the national supreme court.)

    1. “But, in both cases, what if you are working from home? ”

      When I was travelling, the rule was until you worked 80 hours recording a work location of “other than Home”, you didn’t have to file for local income taxes. After hour 80, your time at that location was taxable. If you didn’t physically cross the state line, you were fine.

      1. When we first started log scaling the company was grandfathered into “Where you lived is where you were taxed, even if crossing state line.” Which meant living in Washington but being assigned across the Columbia at the Rainer ramp, meant still no Oregon Taxes. This was because of Log Rafts, that “theoretically” could be moved from Washington side to the Oregon side of the river while being work scaled. Reality was “not a chance in heck”. Might be moved down same side of the bank, but those log rafts were no way in the world, moving across the freaking Columbia River while some is actually on the logs. If that was possible you’d still be hearing me scream, and I haven’t been on a truck ramp or in a yard, let alone a log raft, in 41 years. OTOH sometime in the ’90s or late ’80s (don’t care by then we were subject to Oregon Taxes regardless because we were in Oregon) TPTB realized that log rafts on the Columbia were history. The exemption no longer applies. Now those in Washington who work in Oregon, have to track it, and pay Oregon state taxes on that money, be it a day or two weeks. Became interesting again, when hubby was transferred to Randle Washington (Hwy 12 east, at base of Mt Rainer). Since he was based there, no longer Oregon resident, but I (and son) were still in Oregon. Then there were weeks where he was assigned fill in for the Eugene area. That week we paid Oregon taxes on his earnings (and on his the daily per diem for being away from home base … or money for living at our house for the week). Sigh. It was a long 17 months. Didn’t apply when he was on standby because technically he wasn’t working, but still getting paid, because salaried. Interesting times.

        1. Sigh… I’m an engineer for a defense contractor. We all know now not to accept out-of-state assignments lasting longer then 28 days, because if you do, your income for that period wil get double taxed — by the state where you worked, and the state where you reside. I’m waiting for state governments to decide that they can tax online transactions based both o where the goods are shipped from, and where they are shipped to. The day that that happens is probably the day that Amazon moves all of its warehouses and fulfillment centers to Mexico.

          1. Frown. At least Oregon allows deduction of income tax, not sales tax, paid to another state/taxing jurisdiction (not a credit, so not 100%). Now the Oregon/Washington state combo … Washington state doesn’t have income tax. California/Idaho OTOH do have state income tax (and sales tax). The other advantage is showing an Oregon Driver’s license eliminates goods sales tax (not room tax, not service sales tax, etc).

            1. Things are no better here in the Northeast. New Hampshire has NO income tax, Massachusetts (and Maine and Vermont, but not familiar with the particulars there) does. If you live in NH but work in MA you pay MA (out of state) income tax. You of course may deduct that on your federal income tax, but of course the SALT (Stat and Local Tax) limit is there and you’ll likely be hitting that due to higher property taxes in NH (No income tax, no sales tax, so much is dealt with locally which all in all has advantages) . There was a way you could pro rate the cost. Any day that you actually worked in NH you could keep track of and use it to pro rate your total tax. Many Digital (DEC) Types who lived in NH but worked in Maynard (or Tewksbury or Littleton etc…) would often try to get alternate offices in the Nashua/Merrimack buildings so they could go work there and strike that day from the list. I wonder what MA has done with the remote working world. Company I work for is MA incorporated and we used to have offices in Boston. One thing the “pandemic” showed us was that the Boston offices were an expensive bit of overhead. So officially we are sited out of the presidents home on the South Shore. In actuality we have people working in MA, VT, ME, CA, PA, TX and Ontario Canada (that one is a nuisance I bet). I don’t know if they are required to pay MA income tax now that the office is gone and they all work from home…

              1. What is interesting with hubby’s job is the official office is in Eugene, but site specific physical job, so everyone was officially assigned “Areas” which spread from (at one time) Randle south to Cottage Grove, with spur sites in Gilchrest/Chemult, and some sites in Idaho. Everyone was based out of their homes. Which qualified personal vehicles as work deductible (yes, IRS challenged, IRS lost). When hubby was transferred to Randle, his commute was 5 miles round trip, and he was putting on 480 miles on the car every weekend. The 480 miles were personal miles, except when assigned out of his area, to the Eugene area. Didn’t happen often until just before he was transferred back, but did happen. Nice because he was home, but it was weird for him to get paid per diem and living at home. FYI. He did not tell me he had been transferred back. What he did was take our 15 year old son on a “bonding day” one Saturday. The “bonding day”? Was to pack up and tow home our 28′ RV trailer he’d been living in (housing options were that bad in Randle/Mortin/Packwood along hwy 12 E). When they pulled up with the truck and trailer, it was their surprise.

              2. When I lived in New Hampshire (we left in 1995), working in Maine was a horrible tax hit. Maine charged income taxes not on the income of the spouse working in Maine, but on the joint income even if one spouse never touched Maine soil for work. Dealing with Massachusetts was much easier, and I thought I’d never write that.

                1. I’ve heard of that. Luckily Oregon at least doesn’t do that. My income was Oregon. We file joint returns. Plus hubby never changed his drivers license, or our RV and vehicle licenses. But his official residence was the RV trailer in the small trailer park in Randle (he didn’t register to vote in Washington either, and even though he got an Oregon ballot, he did not vote in 2004 because that wasn’t “right”).

      2. I believe that players on professional sports teams pay state income taxes for the states they play away games in, the argument being that they earned that game’s pay in the host state.

  7. “As for real estate, just having people start to telecommute preferentially (no, it’s not science fiction)….I suspect when it hits it will be with stunning rapidity. I also expect it not to be more than ten years out.”

    Haha! No prophet is without honor except in her own country.

    As for “capitalism”, that is an evil slur invented by Marx that may apply to George Soros and a few others, but it was never advocated by Adam Smith or anyone else and only works long-term because we exempt “charities” from taxes. Free Enterprise is what makes things work. Let the people figure out what they need/want and entrepreneurs figure out how to supply it to them. Beverly Hills and Manhattan are bubbles, but even though you can make decent money being a gourmet chef for a billionaire, you can make an unheard of fortune selling decent food for a good price to everyone like Ray Kroc did. If you want to be an entrepreneur or even understand one, I highly recommend the movie The Founder.

    1. I noticed that too. Especially given that I’m exclusively telecommuting. (Funny thing is that they just sent out a directive to those folk working on site, basically saying Don’t Bug The Production Staff. I only saw it when they took my name off it, since they can’t interrupt me.)

        1. My husband the tax accountant uses it, but he has clients who refuse to list their charitable giving because they believe it’s none of the government’s business and Jesus said to do your good works in secret.

          1. I’ve never confronted the problem with the IRS because since I’ve never had a mortgage, I’ve never been able to profitably itemize deductions.

            1. Our interest on our mortgage is so tiny that even with property taxes we’ve been under standard deduction now for a decade (our remaining mortgage is > $100k, just our interest rate is minuscule).

      1. That rather assumes that there is a gov’t right to money that is given away.

        People can better distribute their own money than the government can– a route so that money can get to problems without government taking a cut is a good thing. Even if it’s done by the rich or some other easily attacked group.

        1. “That rather assumes that there is a gov’t right to money that is given away.”

          Respectfully no, aside from the abuses (and I’ve heard many even from ex-employees of the Red Cross), the problem is feedback. If rather than cost your endeavor anything, the government exempts it from taxes and encourages others to fund you, what incentive does that give you. Unless you’re very saintly, you call for higher taxes! It’s in your best financial interests. If all the churches had to pay tax like the rest of us, they would all be advocating for lower taxes, wouldn’t they?

          1. The money isn’t that of the organization; the money is that of the people who gave it to the purpose.

            They are not encouraging others to fund the charities; they are not punishing those who do so.

            That would be the people who choose to freely give money in support– the motivations you lay out would be accurate for gov’t, where they have the power to require the funds to keep coming, but they don’t work for charities.

            Your setup also lays the framework for absolute financial tracking, so that things can be taxed more effectively– any transfer of things of value would have to be reported.

            1. “Your setup also lays the framework for absolute financial tracking, so that things can be taxed more effectively– any transfer of things of value would have to be reported.”

              Just like every business and person with income is now? I’m not arguing in favor of government or even income taxes, rather that certain organizations should not be exempt or they have an incentive to keep the system as it is rather than the same incentive we all have to not let the government increase taxes.

  8. someone- i don’t know who it was, it was a decade ago, maybe on Kim’s lost forums- talked about an analysis of middle eastern cities where they had claimed a specific population number and the response was that there wasn’t enough water being consumed there to keep that many people alive.

    1. I’ve heard the same. Forget washing and such, there wasn’t enough to be alive.
      I have friends who are translators for various NGOs and they all say that about various places.
      Including Mexico City, of all places.

          1. It’s in the afterword to “Inside Intourist”, as published in the Expanded Universe book.

    2. When your census amounts to asking men how many children they have, in a world where manhood is measured by virility, you’re going to get some interesting numbers. Add in a gov’t that depends on foreign aid to take care of those numbers (i.e., they have a stake in maintaining the status quo) that problem will be compounded.

  9. Diamond Age had groups based on voluntary membership BUT there was an overarching Accord that governed relationships. When the Ashanti caught a mugger, they immediately went to the nearest judge, who was Middle Kingdom.

  10. So, blindness and working from here and there has made me think too of my current situation – retired. I am in effect out of the issue and beyond being blind as I (for the most part) just don’t care. Now, this brings another thought and it’s something I’ve been mulling over for a few days now and that is the normalcy bias where the poor schmuck (me for example) thinks things are just “fine” and day to day is all A-OK and ‘normal’.

    I find myself going to the grocery store and getting stuff and noticing the price creeping up but dealing with it as it is just what is happening and I have to have grocery store supplies. Sure, get a few extra of this or that and grab that sale item stuff. I fill up the gas tank (half a tank is empty) and note the see-saw pricing but pay the cost and drive on. I tuck away a bit of extra emergency cash and get an extra pack of batteries or two but just to top off supplies on hand. We got some extra preferred dog crunch for the little beast and put that aside too. However, each day starts out much the same and the appointment at the clinic or to get a haircut or the days next week marked out for a friend visiting are all just posted on the calendar and all happen with no fan fare or disruption. WHAT THE HELL!?!!??!

    I’m still ‘paranoid’ and think the shoe is about to drop any day so I’ve got “plans” and will respond as needed to the upcoming turmoil and yes, my clothing is where I can find it at night and arms are also at hand. I find myself on a day to day basis just drifting along and doing “maintenance” for the needs of the household and for myself but still feel just not ready as it’s going to hit like a ton of bricks and my fear is there will be no warning as it will just happen. Nukes at dawn? Gah – I hope not but something is going to break and I am frazzled as I sit and wait. I hope the blind spots have been noted and addressed but I fear I’m missing something and it ain’t a small thing.

    1. Old Trainer:

      I hear you, loud and clear.

      It is like 10 AM, May 18, 1980. Taken the dog out for her Sunday morning constitutional, backyard, faces south. Put out the milk and wet food for the (now) 4 week old kitten, barely off the kitten bottle. Start getting stuff out for late breakfast (we had gotten home at 2 AM from Saturday run to Rainer). Only to have hubby, who went out to unload the packed car, come running in, slamming the front door, screaming “Turn On the TV. Something has happened with THE Mountain!” (We were 30 air miles away. We never felt or heard a thing.) Note, we were in the part of Longview WA on the west side behind levies, and directly next to a drainage canal. It isn’t like everyone in the area hadn’t been following every bit of minutia of what the “bump” on St Helen was doing, and possibly going to do. That evacuated residents were allowed escorted access to try to get as much cleared from their houses the day before. Then BOOM. It isn’t like no one wasn’t expecting something. What no one knew. But something. Waiting for that shoe to drop.

      Not looking forward to this shoe dropping. Won’t be any better feeling, than the above surprise.

      We too are retired. Gas is up another $0.10 locally. That is +$1.39 in 10 days. I can’t go to the grocery store without spending over $100, just for a box or two of groceries. This isn’t the Costco or Petsmart (pet food) included run. When I hit all 3, on a single day, I am spending easily north of $400. The benefit is the Costco rebates are adding up faster than normal, and we’re often seeing $0.50+/month/gallon fuel reduction on the grocery (Kroger equivalent) fuel points. One good point is that we haven’t seen costs go up for Utilities (natural gas, water & power) yet; NGas cost increase is coming, guarantied. Neither of our pensions are going up. We did have our expenses dialed in that we only needed $0 – $250/month out of one of our IRA’s to supplement income to pay bills (neither of us are required to withdraw, yet). Now? Minimum of $1k/month.

      *** I know. Rare to actually have pensions. Neither of ours are from the public pension trusts. Mine I have fun on financial applications. Always get a “Um. You marked the wrong box.” Nope. It is $1451.20/year 😉 Every month (especially now with prices) it is “Honey my pension posted this month. What do you want me to pay? Tank of gas? Or dinner out?” (We started out poor together, so all our funds have been co-mingled for the last almost 44 years. So joke.)

    2. Someone recently noted that the 8th of the month has been problematic for the last few months. Shinzo Abe was assassinated on July 8th. Maralago was raided on August 8th. And Queen Elizabeth II died on September 8th. Oh, and Election Day here in the US is on November 8th.

      The one day missing in that sequence is October 8th. That’s tomorrow.

      Now I don’t ordinarily go for that sort of thing. But that’s quite the coincidental set of dates.

      On another note, LawDog’s blog posts about why the Nordstream blasts might have been accidents went and got his site Instalanched. He was down, but finally came back up. But now he’s apparently down again. While it’s bad for him, the Instalanch means more people are being exposed to what he wrote. it might be good if word started to circulate that there are good reasons to think that it wasn’t deliberate sabotage.

      1. I totally think the Nordstream leaks could be massive incompetence, not military action. It’s the Russians, they’re like idiot/savants.

        1. My insight of today?

          How does anyone know about anything about Nordstrom at this point?

          It is possible that some navies had ASW boats out for the 17 hours later event, and picked it up on passive sonar.

          But, otherwise, the blasts may not have had excellent sensor coverage.

          Which means looking at the debris properly.

          The type of people you want for figuring this stuff out, if you give them money, data and responsibility, are going to want to take their time excluding possibilities, and figuring it out properly.

          As for October eight, the alarmist take might be ‘Biden nukes Russia, solely to excuse a state of a emergency, for the purpose of screwing with the mid terms.’ I don’t think the alarmist theory is worth any thinking.

          Lots of people want to do things, but there are many of them that I have no confidence in the competence of.

          1. Unfortunately, getting a proper investigation of the pipeline would be difficult at the best of times due to the political situation. And these are definitely not the best of times.

          2. “How does anyone know about anything about Nordstrom at this point?”

            That is a question that bears repeating. We have pictures of bubbles in the water, and we have reports from seismologists.

            There’s a lot of that going around. Relative of mine went to San Francisco last weekend. Returned unscathed, and reports that the news of SF’s demise is greatly exaggerated. The bad parts are where the bad parts always were, and if you stay out of then everything is pretty well fine.

            Another (crazy) relative returned yesterday from holiday trip in Romania and Slovakia. Apart from the rain, they report everything is pretty well fine. People are apparently not committing cannibalism in the streets, the Russians do not have tanks lined up at the Romanian border.

            So there we go, two eyewitness reports from disinterested observers contradicting the swell of pessimism from the newsies.

            Leading me to believe that we are being gaslit from multiple directions by multiple factions, and the only way we have any hope of knowing what’s going on is by looking for places where the stories don’t mesh.

            1. Why have none of the clueless politicians, bureaucrats and media talking heads taken the trouble to consult ONE PERSON with any experience in gas pipeline construction, operation and maintenance? Why is LawDog the only one presenting an INFORMED opinion on the NordStream pipeline blowout?

              Even Fox is parroting the SABOTAGE!! line when there is no evidence. There will be no evidence until somebody gets some ROVs down there to look at the damage.

              They’re all going to look pretty stupid if the pipes blew out from the inside.
              I used to live on a farm. I know what bullshit smells like.

              1. There seem to be an awful lot of people (and I include a lot of ordinary citizens in the mix) who need the Nordstream blasts to be sabotage. They refuse to even consider that it might have been an accident. In particular, since Biden said we would destroy it, we must have done that. Any other possibility cannot be considered because this administration is both stupid and evil.

            2. It would be difficult for Russian tanks to line up along the border with Romania, since Ukraine is still in the way.

              However, Romanian ally (and likely soon part of Romania) Moldova has its own Russian-back seperatist region. And Moldova is squeezed between Romania and Ukraine. So I can pretty much guarantee that the Russian army would be taking a keen interest in that border if Ukraine collapses.

              1. Leaving aside that my mentally challenged relative was wandering around Romania within HIMARS-range of the border when there’s a fricking war on, point was that everything was pretty normal. Still touristing going on, putting my paranoia under the microscope and showing that I do -not- know what’s going on over there at all.

                My map of the universe is being deliberately over-written with bullshit. This is very annoying.

                1. Of course everything was normal, and I’m not really sure why you’d think it would be otherwise. As I noted, Ukraine is firmly between Romania and Russia. There’s no shared border between the latter two countries. And all of the fighting is taking place over at the Russian side of Ukraine, which is far, far away from the Romanian side of a country that’s almost as big as the state of Texas. Neither Russia nor Ukraine have any reason to provoke Romania right now. Moreover, Romania is a full-fledged member of NATO. And thus, causing an incident on Romanian soil would risk the invocation of the NATO treaty.

                  There’s talk of Russia potentially causing problems in other Eastern European countries in the future. But that cannot and will not happen until after the fighting in Ukraine is concluded. Romania is a candidate for such things due to its ties to Moldova, which contains the Transnistria autonomous region. But Russia won’t have direct access to that region unless it installs a puppet government in Ukraine as a result of the current war.

          3. I’ll be honest, I kind of hope it was the Poles getting long delayed revenge against both Russia and Germany.

              1. Hard to believe that they would lose any sleep unemployed Russians or freezing Germans.

  11. “You’re talking about a sort of poll tax. A place where people pay to have a say in the common governance of the groups they belong to, including their neighborhood.”

    Government is about agreements between people. You don’t necessarily have to cough up resources to jaw around and make agreements; but you do have to cough up resources to enforce them and adjudicate them. How you get those resources is usually another agreement. If you’re benefiting from those agreements and their enforcement, then by all means you should be contributing. Conversely, if you’re not benefitting from them, then you should have no obligation to funding them.

    That’s where the earlier means of funding our government worked with fees and tariffs. Those were almost always targeted to be paid for by the sectors that benefited from them. And government was therefore small and manageable. It wasn’t until they implemented the #$%^^$#! income tax that the U.S. government finally had a Carte Blanc slush fund that they could abuse to their hearts content for whatever cockamamie ideas they had.

    Now they take our money at gun point, and all we get is a form letter saying, “We heard you, now shut up, or sing our praises.”

  12. Speaking of blind spots, does anyone know how crime works in China? I know kidnapping is a thing, even with cellphones.

    I just realized that I’m writing a (sort of) vampire story in a period where everyone has cellphones. From a tactical standpoint, I can see the vampire selecting people who won’t be terribly missed, but how would that even work when everyone has a tracker on 24/7?

    Would we expect a future society where self tracking information is not immediately and readily available? Would we expect cat stories of people walking on the wrong side of legal to regularly put time and effort into obscuring their track able location? Would it just be souch data no-one would really care unless someone raised a stink?

    1. First thing the Chinese kidnappers do is take away the cellphone. Some of them might be wiping the phones and reselling them, some might just take out the SIM card.

      However… a lot of Chinese kidnappers dress like police, or other officials. (And might be police or other officials, is the subtext.)

      1. Ah. I see. Basically the vampire should operate without a phone, and needs to either peel the phone from their victim, or encourage their victim to shed it. Which is probably easier if the target victim also believes they may be engaged in illegal activity as well. So the phone itself is located pretty quickly, but is found in a compromising place, so unless there is a particularly motivated gumshoe or a family who is willing to find out very publicly what the missing person was doing there, it just goes away.

        Makes sense.

        1. I don’t carry my phone unless I have to (work, travel on own). So that’s also a possibility. Have the kidnap victim grumble something about, “I am so glad I’m shed of that thing for a few hours” or “Typical. I find out about the battery recall after I have to start charging it twice a day, and the store doesn’t have a loaner” or the like.

          1. Interesting options. I think in this case, her usual tactic is to get the mark to give her their phone then leaves it somewhere when they’re distracted, or in this instance, tries to pickpocket the phone before baiting the mark to the secondary location.

            And I think in this instance, she’s mistaken her mark for completely the wrong person, gets caught trying to find and lift his phone, and all hell breaks loose.

          2. Mike Harmon left it on the charger at home, leading to the events of Oh JOHN RINGO NO!!!!!

    2. How often does the vampire need to grab someone? There is a difference between 1/month and nightly.

  13. Apropos of not much… Peter Floriani has actually put out some books on Kindle!!

    One is his own nonfiction work (A Chestertonian’s Vade Mecum, which is a guide to G.K. Chesterton info), one is an extensively annotated edition of Chesterton’s biography/long essay on St. Francis of Assisi, and one is a Stanley Jaki nonfiction book that he edited for the late scholar. (So yeah, that last one didn’t really count, except that it proved to me that he knew how to Kindle-ize a book.)

    Chesterton’s St. Francis of Assisi is a really interesting book already (and in the public domain in the US) and I have read it many times; but Floriani’s footnotes and annotations are a real addition to the pleasure and edification of the book. It just came out this month on St. Francis’ feastday, so take a look if you want to know why I keep pushing Floriani recommendations.

  14. “Or believing that Brazil is (Bother! If someone had pumped as much money in here as we have in Brazil we too would be an “economic success.” It won’t last, the timber is bad, even if the house is pretty.)”

    I must comment, for I have seen things. Working in the power/telecom/logistics (yeah, its a messy thing) field gets you a perspective on things that’s hard to get anywhere else. You find out things about how power is routed around and maintained on the large scale, how ‘net infrastructure works, how a delicate dance of carefully planned expansion, maintenance, repair, and replacement keeps it all working near flawlessly.

    Then you have places like Brazil.

    As of 2017-2018 (I think), the power/info networking infrastructure of Brazil was enough to terrify anyone with so much as a toe in the deep ocean that is power/telecom. The “system” is not so much what one might think when the word is read. It’s more akin to witchcraft and magic that it works than solid engineering and safe, reasonable, or even sane practices.

    Brazil is a third world country only by dint of massive injections of foreign money and occasionally technical support. It’s not just the basket of crazy that is the distribution network. It’s at all levels of every facet, from groceries to gas to potable water.

    There are excellent, hard working Brazilians, sure. Good men and women. They’re just stuck in a terrible country with crumbling infrastructure and corruption that makes the Biden family look like amateurs.

    Brazil has been “the next big thing” to some folks for at least a couple of decades (was when I was still tutoring). But it is no “economic success.” It’s a zombie economy with very expensive makeup on. The problems it has are deep, and require much, much more than a few bits of updated tech and some (or even truly stupefying amounts of) cash to fix.

    1. Do you have any good write-up on Brazilian infrastructure you could recommend?

      I’m rapidly discovering the best story fodder it made of nightmare fuel. 🙂

      1. Brazilian blogger I knew of back a few years ago. I’ll try and find it, but no promises as yet.

        Picture a rats nest on steroids, only made of cat5 and old copper telephone wire, stretched in over a hundred directions, all terminating at a pole covered in the knot of wire. That was the initial image that drew me to the guy’s blog.

        The overview he painted a picture of alluded to aging infrastructure stressed beyond all reasonable expectation along with maintenance shenanigans that were so bad they were functionally identical to enemy action (in some cases). Rolling brownouts the norm. Blackouts on the irregular, at any time. Wildfires that were happening because of the don’t-even-call-it-maintenance torching irreplaceable trunks and even subs. Sabotage on top of all the problems associated with shoddy “maintenance.”

        The can-you-even-call-it-sabotage by local residents, tired of not having telecom or power, stripping the insulation off of the wires and tapping directly in, and some of them electrocuting themselves, but less of that than you’d expect because the line load was so low it didn’t kill them outright! Thus furthering the brownouts and blackouts.

        Throw in the occasional replacement or step up of new generation capacity that over stresses the dangerously overworked infrastructure resulting in fires, explosions, and worse.

        Bandits and local gangs shooting at repair crews that actually try to do their jobs, robbing them of the tools they need to do the jobs, or just plain robbing them and leaving the tools to rust. Local government either trying to hold things together with spit and wishes (no duct tape) or aiding and abetting the bandits (that’s Socialism for you).

        And on the generation side, well, I’m not the man to ask about that truly. The plants work. Mostly. Usually. More often than not. Probably. But it’s the distribution network that’s totally, utterly f$cked.

  15. “The best I can imagine is that you pay an amount to belong to a certain group which will then fight for your interests”

    Is that like a Russian “soviet” or an Italian “corprate”?

    (I don’t mean that as a troll. The idea that you belong to various organizations (church, business, union, hobby club, civic club) and that those organizations which have enough members to get bodies out in the street or voters to the poll get a seat at the power table is doesn’t seem an inherently more socialist (national or international) idea than that you belong to a salamander shaped region of geography and get government representation based on that. So I’m not saying those things to imply that you want the Russian or Italian outcome. Any more than I’d say that because Italians came up with Tiramisu and ate it in the 30s that anyone who likes Tiramisu is also fascist. Just that that basic idea is not new.)

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