California vs. Amazon View 681 2011 June 30


View 681 Thursday, June 30, 2011 – 2

California today passed what the governor is pleased to call a balanced budget without new taxes. There were new taxes, of course. One of them was another dodge to collect sales taxes on Internet sales. This time California has levied a sales tax to be applied to any firm that has business or business associates in California.

Amazon responded by cancelling the Associates program, meaning that my links to Amazon books with my Amazon Associates link code no longer result in my getting some small percentage of book sales done that way. It was not insignificant income, about $2,000 a year, on which I paid California income tax, and if I spent the money in California I would of course pay state and county and city sales taxes. I do buy books through Amazon, and sometimes diet supplements. In theory I will now have to pay sales taxes on those but I doubt it will amount to anything like the amount the state will lose because I have lost the income from the Associates program. Of course Governor Brown is in thrall to the unions who insist that spending must never slow down and revenue must always rise, so there is no point in trying to point out to the Democrats that this program isn’t going to do them much good, while it will certainly bring harm to the Amazon Associates in this state. I suspect this will cause some of them to leave the state altogether. This is not a place in which to build a career.

Part of California used to be a good place to retire to, and looking at the wreckage of the state economy I’d think it would welcome more retired people, but ruthlessly enforcing sales taxes is hardly the way to attract them. Sales taxes fall heavily on those with low to low-middle income, since they have little alternative to spending a good part of their income, and can hardly find ways to bank some of it outside the state. None of which matters to those who will riot if they do not receive their perks and benefits from the government, and the legislature which has to come up with something to call a balanced budget or it will not get paid.

Of course that is farce. Part of the balance in this budget is an income forecast that simply can’t happen. They’d have been more honest if they simply set down a line item specifying $5 billion from the Easter Bunny. Of course they all know this.

Democracies endure until the citizens discover they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury. I said all this long ago in my introduction to Imperial Stars.

“Democracies endure until the citizens care more for what the state can give them than for its ability to defend rich and poor alike; until they care more for their privileges than their responsibilities; until they learn they can vote largess from the public treasury and use the state as an instrument for plundering, first those who have wealth, then those who create it”.

I could wish I had been wrong. Yet it may be that America will save California. First, though, California has to be allowed to suffer the consequences of its folly. The punishment will begin soon enough.

You may also find I am forced to increase the frequency of my pledge and subscription appeals. Incidentally, those who have tried to subscribe since the conversion to WordPress and have been unable to do so should try again. It should work this time. If you were thinking about subscribing, this would be a good time to subscribe. Help test the system.

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Back to dialup for the moment. I got more than 120 mb of email, mostly spam, in four hours. At $50 a gigabyte I can’t afford that. I’m looking into what I can do about that. Historically I have not worried much about spam since I got high speed access, since my filters take care of it and my systems are fast enough to deal with it (although sometimes the slowdowns can be annoying), But If I have to pay this kind of rate I can’t afford to keep that up. I need to look at the options BlueHost offers in the spam control. Haven’t got around to that, and clearly they are not set for what I am doing.

Note that ordinary mail is not a problem. All the normal mail from all of you won’t amount to more than a few megabytes a day, and that’s not a problem. But when it gets to 50 megabytes and hour it’s a bit much for someone paying for telephone access.

I’ll work something out. It’s not as if this goes on forever.


Silly Dialup View 681 20110630 – 1


View 681 Thursday June 30, 2011

I do these silly things so you don’t have to. This is one of them. For reasons I’ll get to when I have high speed connectivity, I am at the moment working with dialup, using the built-in modem in my ThinkPad and my Earthlink dialup account over the local telephone. I have had this EarthLink account since Sky Dayton came over to Chaos Manor one evening and set up the account for me. Needless to say this was before anyone had high speed Internet connectivity. The silly thing I am about to do is publish this by dialup.

After which I am going to go out and buy the wherewithal to do direct high speed connectivity. Meanwhile, I get all my mail, but there are some problems about replying to it: my new ISP doesn’t like to be connected through dialup. That’s a security measure, and understandable. It’s not a real problem.

I won’t try to publish mail or any long essays until I get high speed. I should have that by this afternoon, along with a longer account of this adventure. Meanwhile, I’m collecting the mail, and I have read much of it. As usual when we travel, a reliable friend moves into Chaos Manor to keep the place safe and Sable happy. We’ll be back home shortly. Meanwhile, here’s one more silly thing I have done so you don’t have to.

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It worked. Indeed it worked flawlessly and surprisingly quickly. Hurrah.

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Except that because we usually get down here on a Thursday I thought today was Friday, But I have fixed that, and while the first two parts of this were published by dialup, I am now using a new AT&T phone card. Wow does it use bandwidth. It’s fast, but expensive; but then that’s about what you’d expect. Full report another time, but I am now connected by high speed through AT&T directly.

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Communications established. I have full communications and I can now do a View essay and try to catch up on some of the mail. Thanks for all the patience. For reasons buried in my subconscious whenever I start to say thinks I want to write thanks for all the fish. But I didn’t get any fish. At least I know it’s my subconscious, unlike Dick Geiss’ Alter Ego who may or may not have been a separate personality (and yes, I know him off line, and Alter has never appeared in face to face interactions). But that’s all another and entirely irrelevant story. I seem to be rambling more than usually today, but that is probably because it is time to get to work. The story of the Road Warrior and re-establishing connectivity while in the middle of changing to a new web host, a new web log format, and making various other changes ought to work for a new column. I haven’t done a column in a while. I have an arrangement with BYTE – the new BYTE – in which we will be able to have my Chaos Manor Reviews page, but my columns will also appear in the new BYTE. The New BYTE will also get some of the Chaos Manor Mail. I need to revive that, too, since the Mail here tends to all subjects, while mail at Chaos Manor Reviews is pretty well technical and computer related only.

I haven’t followed as many computer trends in the past few weeks as I used to, but it turns out that viewed from a distance many of them didn’t need following. I don’t do topical news anyway. There are places with the staff to do that. In the Old BYTE days I sometimes looked as if I were right on top of trends and changes, but that was in part due to the rather marvelous editorial staff in Peterborough, and in part because in those days computer developments were often really important: a new 56K modem that worked when the only reliable communications were at 28K was a life changing event, as were marvels like Zip drives. Now, for most purposes, what we have is already Good Enough, and while being out at the bleeding edge can be interesting, it’s just not the same: there’s very little the best equipped Power User can do that the Good Enough equipped Power User isn’t already doing. It’s different for games, of course, but that’s another story, and I don’t much do high end twitch games for the same reason that I no longer ride motorcycles or go for cruises through Death Valley.

And now it really is time to get back to work.