edmund_the_destroyer

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edmund_the_destroyer wrote (edited )

My understanding is that a good portion of the people in the military are there for economic reasons. And while cops in most of the US don't make big bucks, they still earn quite a bit more than most of the working class.

A roof over your head, three meals, medical care, and a very low salary but no living expenses is incredibly attractive when you're struggling to make ends meet with $8.42 an hour or flat out can't find any other job, period.

And if you can last a few decades with either institution, you get a stellar retirement package relative to most other people, too.

I understand why people join. (Edit: I'm not saying I agree or support it. Just that I understand.)

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edmund_the_destroyer wrote

I'm non-religious and generally opposed to almost all religious belief structures. But to be fair, religion does not require hierarchy. The Unitarian Universalists and some variants of Buddhism, for example, don't have a hierarchy of authority.

You'll find the left very splintered, and thus zig has no regard for members of the left that would prioritize a defense of Islam over GLBTQ+ rights.

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edmund_the_destroyer wrote

Unfortunately I can't help on the free side. I've been thinking of just renting a server overseas and installing VPN software on that. Scaleway looks pretty cheap, €1.99/month for something with unlimited 100 Mbit bandwidth, twice that for unlimited 200 Mbit bandwidth - but I've never tried them before, so use at your own risk.

What I really want is VPN software that allows me to selectively decide what traffic goes through it. One of my kids plays multiplayer games, his game traffic would need to bypass the VPN for speed reasons. Most of us use Netflix streaming, there's no reason to funnel that through a VPN tunnel. As far as I know, nothing open source that provides all of this exists.

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edmund_the_destroyer wrote (edited )

You have a common misunderstanding of communism. Someone more knowledgeable on the topic can correct me, but this is how I understand it:

Karl Marx's idea was that first the working class would unite and establish a socialist government to dismantle all of the capitalist class institutions, and then the socialist government would relinquish power to allow each individual community to govern itself independently with little or no central government left. The individual self-governing communities represent communism. Communism is not a strong central government. The problem is that once the socialist government has power, it never relinquishes it. Hence Stalin, and Mao, and so forth. Socialism fails into authoritarianism.

Anarcho-communists want to get to communism without going through Marx's intermediate (and in their view, inescapably doomed to fail) socialist step. We dismantle capitalism and centralized government directly without creating a centralized government to do it for us. One of the most famous early Anarcho-communist philosophers was Mikhail Bakunin, who told Marx that socialism would fail in the 1860s - fifty years before Stalin took control.

Anyone care to correct me on that? Did I screw up anywhere?

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edmund_the_destroyer wrote

My view is that the libertarian right leads to big government anyway. If you somehow try to dismantle big government but leave strong property laws in place, the oligarchs will just buy themselves a new big government.

As far as I can tell, that's the story of the 19th century American industrial revolution in a nutshell. Basically none of the regulations around business or worker rights that we have today existed. The mine owners, factory owners, rail owners, and oil well owners basically bought local legislators, law enforcement, and judges and then enslaved the rest of the population.

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edmund_the_destroyer wrote

You're being very kind, and I appreciate it. But to repeat, for a few years I felt incredibly proud of myself for acting like I do and trying to get my kids to do the same. Then it sank through my thick skull that I was congratulating myself for reaching a state that should be the species-wide default.

If you're in a partnership with someone you both should do your best to split the work, including all associated emotional labor. Your sexual identity is irrelevant to that. It just so happens that in modern American culture cis+het men are least likely to automatically assume their fair share. I have a few friends and relatives with miserable relationships because of that and many more that ended because of it.

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edmund_the_destroyer wrote

I host my own email - which, unfortunately, is enough of a pain in the ass that I wouldn't recommend it for most people. I use non-Google search engines. Whenever practical I get cash out of ATM machines and buy products that way, and I don't use loyalty cards at stores.

But it's almost useless. The school lunch payment program does not accept cash payments, so I have to tie that in to my bank or a credit card. Toll booth cameras capture license plates. A lot of ongoing medical expenses and such go through credit accounts. Everyone I actually send email to uses a GMail account, so Google reads 99% of the messages I send and receive anyway. Only a tiny handful of the people I know are not active on social media.

And 98% of the people that I discuss privacy concerns with just think I'm a lunatic. "You think the fact we are all carrying around a computer with a microphone and camera that a hacker, corrupt cellular service employee, corrupt law enforcement official, or the government in general can access at any time is bad? You must be nuts, what's wrong with you?"

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edmund_the_destroyer wrote

I think the better anarchist solution is peer to peer video hosting network with shows under a Creative Commons or similar license. Video production tools are getting cheaper as time goes by, so why play ball with HBO and Game of Thrones (or equivalent) if there is a series just as good that's not backed by ScruUall Megacorps Inc.

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edmund_the_destroyer wrote

I'm going to make an idealistic suggestion - if you have the time or money, please consider supporting some of the fully open source games.

In a better world all the best games would be free-as-in-freedom. DRM in games only exists because the most fun games are more in demand than the fully free ones.

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edmund_the_destroyer wrote

Great point. She doesn't have to do that, and never has on routine household work. But unfortunately she did have to do that, a lot, when it came for taking care of the kids. We didn't reach the point where I was carrying my fair share, more or less, of the work (crucially) without being asked for probably the first five years of parenthood. That's a huge burden I unfairly placed on her.

I'm trying to teach my sons not to make the same mistake, and my daughters not to accept any such labor or emotional labor imbalance in their own relationships.

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edmund_the_destroyer wrote (edited )

When we reported it to our school, they interviewed our child, the bullies, our child's friends, the bullies' friends, and some kids that were in the same classrooms but not friends of either side. Each interview was one on one, and they just told each child that someone had noticed the bullying and contacted the school administration.

They got some picture of the situation which they shared with us in general terms, and they wouldn't tell us what was said but provided a list of times they called the other kids' parents to discuss the situation. It seemed to improve the situation slightly.

I know a lot of advice is to just tell your kid to fight back, but in our case we have two reasons not to say that:

  1. Our son is one of the largest boys in the school, and his bullies are girls.
  2. A big part of the feedback from the kids, even from my son's closest friends, was that he was causing more trouble than he was getting. So either the girls were extraordinarily skilled at saving the worst emotional abuse for when no one else was around, or he had (has?) tunnel vision and doesn't realize that if you insult someone and they insult you back it does not make you the innocent victim.

As a parent the whole situation drove me nuts, because I was left wondering if my own kid was being secretly terrorized by an especially vicious group of girls. Or if he was, in fact, the actual bully and they were just defending themselves but he had no idea. And we couldn't even confront him with the situation and ask for more information, because it would reveal that his own best buddies didn't back him up when the school counselors asked their view of the situation. We stay in touch with the counseling staff at the school and have him in counseling. He thinks it's for dealing with bullies, but a large part of it is to help him understand and empathize better with others.

I hope like hell I'm not raising an asshole jock.

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edmund_the_destroyer wrote

As I've written elsewhere, I'm not going to condemn anyone. I just respectfully request that if you're interested and have the time you download something like Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS (Long Term Support) and put it on a USB flash drive, and boot your laptop from that. If everything works out of the box, consider installing it. If not, forget it. There's a good chance everything will work.

Maintaining Linux isn't a second job. I've hit a few install headaches with my machines, and everything else just works. On one laptop I had to research and purchase a Linux-compatible USB wireless device because the builtin wireless wouldn't work, and on the same laptop battery life is poor. Installing my printer drivers for our newest printer was a pain. Our previous two printers were a Canon and an older Epson, but our new Epson required extra work.

Since installation, everything has worked fine with no effort for years.

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edmund_the_destroyer wrote (edited )

The situation is a lot better now than it was in 2000 or 2005. If you're motivated, put Linux on a USB flash drive, boot into that, and see if it works.

I've got two laptops and two desktops running Linux, and the only hardware headache is the builtin wireless in one of the laptops. I did have to research Linux-compatible USB wireless devices and buy one for that laptop, but otherwise all hardware worked properly on install with no special work.

(Edit: Sorry, I forgot to address Microsoft Office and webcam drivers. I don't have any webcams, so I don't know how their hardware support is. There is a project called Crossover Office from Codeweavers that supposedly runs Microsoft Office on Linux, but I have no idea as to how well it works. I completely understand if either of those issues is a blocker.)