Pence letter – no to 25th

January 12th, 2021

I find these antics SO counterproductive, because when people flaut and flaunt COVID protections, it means we have a longer struggle to “normal.”

Albert Lea Restaurant fined for defying governor’s orders

From the article:

An Albert Lea restaurant will have to pay $3,000 every day it is open for indoor dining after it violated Gov. Tim Walz’s orders closing indoor dining in Minnesota.

The Freeborn County District Court found the Interchange Wine and Coffee Bistro in contempt of court for violating a restraining order it issued back in December that required the restaurant to close indoor and on-premises dining, according to a news release issued Friday by the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office.

The court ordered Interchange to pay a fine of $3,000 every day it is open for indoor dining and to comply with future executive orders.

On its website, Interchange says it is open for indoor dining. It has been open for in-person dining since Walz’s order in November shutting down indoor dining, closed only on Christmas and New Year’s Day.

The Attorney General’s Office sued the restaurant on Dec. 21, and a temporary restraining order was issued on Dec. 23.

A call to the restaurant was not returned Friday evening.

The Interchange fb page is still up, says they’re open tonight!

U.S. Representatives Hagedorn and Fischbach for their vote January 6, 2021, to disenfranchise voters in other states, do you support our democratic republic?

Representatives Steve Drazkowski, Jeremy Munson, Tim Miller, Cal Bahr, Eric Lucero, Mary Franson, Glenn Gruenhagen and Shane Mekeland, and Senators Mary Kiffmeyer, Mike Goggin, Andrew Mathews, Mark Koran, Bill Weber, John Jasinski, and Rich Draheim, who wrote to Texas A.G. asking that Minnesota be included in the Supreme Court challenge, and addition that would be asking to disenfranchise Minnesota voters, do you support our democratic republic? (click on name for contact info)

SHAME on MN Legislators wanting MN added to TX suit

The story of utility personal property tax goes way back in Red Wing, in Goodhue County. When the latest round of tax notices, the 2021 Proposed Tax, were received, people were whining and crying, and when I asked them what they’d do different, NOT A SINGLE SUBSTANTIVE RESPONSE (“cut spending” is not a response, “VETO” is not a response. Let’s get specific here folks, what would you do different??). It also seems that people do not understand the impact of Xcel Energy’s tax cuts and how their cuts are heaped on US regular property owners!

While putting up some articles today that dropped from the heavens into this Legalectric repository, I ran across some old editorials that are a needed history lesson as people in Red Wing discuss property taxes. Red Wing Budget 2021 page! Here in Red Wing, we’re having to make up for the loss of the utility personal property taxes that our “good neighbor” Xcel has weaseled out of over the years. 20+ years ago, starting in 1995 just after NSP succeeded in its fierce lobbying effort to keep the plant open, they pulled the rug out from under Minnesota’s host communities, slashing utility personal property taxes in every way possible. The most recent episode of Xcel Energy cuts was 2018, done in secret at Dept. of Revenue, they gave Goodhue County, Red Wing, and the school district the finger once again.

Here, in chronological order, are those OLD editorials I found in this computer (click on them for a larger view). History matters.

This first one is particularly obnoxious, as Micheletti’s statement (he was then an NSP lobbyist) that utility personal property tax makes our rates higher is outright lie — our electric rates at that time were far lower than almost everywhere in the country!

micheletti_1_mpr082216
(he hates this, so gotta post it!)

And my take on it, after seeing Micheletti’s push, written because people seem to avoid identifying the root of the problem — Xcel screwing us over — was written just a week later, because Xcel is changing the host deal after the fact. They built the nuclear plant in this host community with an agreement to pay these taxes. Now they pull out of that agreement? I mean really, what are they going to do, take their nuclear plant and go? In 1994, they rallied the troops of Red Wing, Goodhue County, and all other host communities to storm the legislature by the busload “to preserve the tax base” and then starting in 1995, they focus their bigger than ever lobbying presence on eliminating that very same tax base. Yup, that’s how they rewarded their host communities. What a good neighbor. Here’s my response to (then) NSP:

And in the Red Wing Republican Eagle, a heads up to the community, long after NSP/Xcel had started, after the post 1994 taxes were slashed, cut, after NSP/Xcel eliminated so much of the utility personal property tax — and we residents had to take up the difference:

It’s hard to stomach anything from Tom Micheletti, who got his and Julie Jorgensen’s Excelsior Energy Mesaba Project and tens of millions of dollars (DNT Investigation – Excelsior Lobbying Cash Questioned) as a perk in the 2003 Prairie Island bill – Chapter 11, Special Session), with cash flow from state coffers for his bogus idea built into law:

We had to fight that IGCC (coal gasification) Mesaba Project bondoggle for over FOUR YEARS before the Public Utilities Commission finally said NO! Meanwhile, Tom Micheletti and Julie Jorgensen financed by millions from the state’s “Renewable Development Fund,” millions from the Iron Range Resources coffers (Iron Range Resources & IGCC take their lumps), and millions from Department of Energy Grants and Loans, giving him enough to retire in style. Boondoggle” is too nice a word for that scam.

Ten years and $41 million later, ‘clean coal’ plant still vapor

Is it any wonder I’d holler seeing Julie Jorgensen, Dennis Egan, and Mark Andrews teaming up trying to get a solar project going in Red Wing? AAACK!

Three Musketeers? Three Stooges?

History is important… facts matter!

QAnon game theory

December 16th, 2020

Saw this today and it makes so much sense, but it’s far beyond my ken, perhaps that’s the boomer in me. I’d seen this notion before, A Game Designer’s Analysis Of QAnon, (one notion in this to note Apophenia is : “the tendency to perceive a connection or meaningful pattern between unrelated or random things (such as objects or ideas)” ) but anyway, this Seth Abramson explanation somehow makes more sense, maybe it just took some time to sink in.

I’ve been thinking about this lately as I see people I know spouting such absurd ideas, things jawdroppingly bizarre with no relation to reality, and also seeing that facts don’t matter. QAnon and these bizarre notions considered as gaming and a different reality (well, that different reality was clear early on) explains why “real news” doesn’t matter, why facts don’t matter. Though I doubt tRump is savvy to this, that it’s not intentional on his part, just that he knows this “something” works for him. I think he’s being played by his handlers, his manipulators, and he gets off on it, profits from it.

Food for thought — READ THIS:

A Seth Abramson twitter thread on current alternate reality:

QAnon is an ARG (Alternate Reality Game). It was set up that way and is managed that way. QAnoners are playing an ARG and refuse to stop for the very reason transreality gaming can be hazardous: you can forget what’s game and what’s reality. QAnoners are lost in a dangerous game.

The reason this matters is that Trump and his agents aim to expand the gamification of reality beyond the confines of QAnon’s ARG mythology. Now they’re turning the finding of evidence of “election fraud” into a transreality game with its own mythology. All of this is dangerous.

When we think of the far right as a space of “fake news” rather than the gamification of reality, we falsely accept the notion that Trumpists are interested in news. They’re not. They’re interested in tailored escapism, and in redefining reality as a mythology they can live with.

When you misdefine someone as simply an indiscriminate “news consumer” rather than deeming them a LARPer—Live-Action Roleplayer—you erroneously analyze their characteristics and erroneously model their behavior. tRump himself is an ARG—and people enjoy the game too much to stop.

Trump and his agents are deliberately creating a new intelligence theater, in which intelligence agents must “enter the game”—yes, a bit akin to entering a Matrix—to combat the seditious ends Trump, Flynn and others intend to direct their ARG to. It’s all weird digital-age stuff.

By this same logic, QAnoners cannot be reached by *real* news presented to them in *conventional* terms. Instead, intelligence agents will end up infiltrating the Trumpist QAnon ARG with the “real” using scenarios in which the “real” *momentarily* seems to be part of the “game.”

This is why I described the Trump era as the First Reality War, and urged folks in intel to treat reality as an active combat theater. Government will need many more digital-age cultural theorists than it anticipated. Not cyber folks—I mean world-builders and their interlocutors.

The good news: the generation coming up gets transmedia, transreality, XR, ARGs, pervasive gaming, immersive theater, reality mining, gamification, collaborative OSINT and the like far more than their elders. Which is key, as much of the Trumpist threat will come in such spheres.

For instance, “Communism” exists in Trumpist mythology the same way Shinra did in Final Fantasy VII: as an in-game construction defined by narrative utility and seamless integration with a UX. Trumpists have no idea how the term connects to anything actually happening in America.

So Trumpists can’t be deprogrammed from their sense of what Communism—or for that matter socialism—means in meat space, as their (false) consciousness of these terms is the product of an in-game “economy.” You either change their game or get them to stop playing. Both are *hard*.

But put aside intelligence and counterintelligence. What this means for the average American is that you may have members of your family or certain acquaintances who you can no longer speak to because *even when they are talking to your face* they are playing a transreality ARG.

My advice to those with Trumpists or QAnoners they still want to interact with: you have to find ways to get them to *put the ARG aside* momentarily. Which is hard, because Trump and his team are daily expanding the size of the ARG to try to make it *roughly the size of reality*.

The best many of us can do right now is to try to draw these LARPers into non-game spaces in which they have non-game interactions with non-game participants—and to try to make such spaces and interactions of such high entertainment value that the game begins to seem unnecessary.

But you don’t address the situation by trying to introduce “real news” (qua news) directly into the situation, as you are dealing with someone whose interest is in entertainment rather than news—and whose fundamental complaint is with reality itself, not with information streams.

I teach digital-age cultural theory, XR literacy, mass communications, post-postmodernism, digital journalism and transmedia worldbuilding at the university level—while my recent books are classified as being on the subject of intelligence and espionage—so these are my interests.

Seth Abramson