Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Now the evil bastards get to feel you up as an addendum to the price of your ticket. The feral gov't has finally gone too far! Well, actually, they went too far a long time ago, but in the interest of making it harder and harder to travel outside the bounds of government approval, they can now check your genitals for bombs.

If this post seems a bit disjointed, it's because, once again, I'm angry, angry, angry!

I'm hoping that individuals, especially women, will quit flying commercial airlines. I have, in the past year or so, said that I won't fly unless I really have to. Now, I'm changing it. If I can't get there without taking a commercial flight, I ain't going. Period.

But, sez my evil twin, That's just what they want. Is it paranoia if they really are out to get you?

Oops, there goes another Amendment (flush).

Col. Hogan

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Back to the Freedom Summit.

After a quick breakfast, I found that several individuals were already milling about in the patio area around the entrance to the convention room. I picked up my badge and went inside to check out the vendors. While I made up a mental list of things I would buy later, people started to find seats.

Ernie took the dais and made a few announcements, mostly having to do with Arizona politics as it relates to the upcoming elections. He welcomed everyone and introduced Barry Hess, who was to MC the event.

The first speaker way Doug Casey, a man who makes enough money in market speculation to finance his travelling habit. He spoke on the world view of the terrorist/Iraq/Afghanistan situation.

An elderly gentleman who calls himself Lazarus Long was next. He had a Power Point presentation of a New Country he plans to build on a sand bar in the Caribbean. The presentation wasn't very convincing.

Jim Peron, an American who lived in South Africa for a time and now lives in New Zealand, spoke about the government of New Zealand, its taxes and its receptiveness to immigration, and the ease of starting a business or working there. He made it sound pretty good.

Charles Goyette is a talk show host on a Phoenix radio station. He has a somewhat gloomy view of the future of freedom in America, with some suggestions of things that might happen that might make the outlook a little brighter. I spoke with him briefly after his speech and found him to be very sharp and quite a bit more upbeat than his speech seemed to indicate. I wish I could listen to his show. I could listen on the net, except he's on while I'm at work.

Claire Wolfe is a pretty hard-core underground person who's been writing about the approaching police state for years. "101 Things to Do Until the Revolution" and "The State vs the People," for example. She was the next speaker, and spoke about creating online "gulching" communities, insulating yourself from the bad guys, etc. I did get a couple of chances to chat with her. She was good enough to sign a couple of her books for me.

Mary Ruwart spoke about the federal gov't's role in soaring prescription drug prices. Ms Ruwart is a pharmaceutical research scientist who has first-hand knowledge of the outrageous degree of regulation under which pharmaceutical firms must attempt to work.

Justin Raimondo, a policy analist for the Center for Libertarian Studies gave an impassioned speech in opposition to the Iraq war and a plea that all libertarians oppose it in any way they can.

Now, I have no sympathy for the old Iraqi government, but I'm not in the least satisfied with the blarney coming from Washington DC regarding this "War on Terror." I'm even less satisfied with the feds having set up apparatus by which they can control our movement, our travel, our work, our education and our health care (well beyond what had been done by previous administrations) and by which they can collect information on each and every one of us in just about any area of our lives. Any of that bunk they tell you about needing the approval of the courts to tap your phones or raid your computer files falls completely apart when you realize from whom the judges' paychecks come.

Ah, another digression......

We had a break to freshen up and to engage in conversation as pleased each of us, until it was time for the evening's hjigh point: Dinner and the keynote speech.

After a very good dinner, George Smith took the dais. He spoke on the dangers of the NeoCons, as they have strong influence on President Bush and the direction of the federal government is currently heading. Gone is any pretense of limiting the size of gov't or any pretense of moving in the direction of freedom (except, of course, in rhetoric). George also made a point to observe the increase in importance relicious faith has in the President's personal philisophy--and how that fits with the doctrines of the NeoCons.

So....after the speech, and after a conversations with a number of attendees, I trundled off to rest up for the final day. It's a good weekend!

Col. Hogan

Friday, November 19, 2004

I've been hearing on the TV and radio news about a new tax proposal being proposed here in Stalag California. Rather than continuing to tax gasoline at higher and ever higher levels, they propose to tax drivers by the miles they drive. This would necesitate some sort of a sensor placed in each car, presumably tamper-proof, that will broadcast each car's mileage as it happens.

Now.........I have some questions.

How long.....we all know how greedy and money-hungry government is at every level.....how long......after the mileage tax is up to $3.50 a mile and no one will tolerate any more.....how long......until they add just a teeeny tineeey tax per gallon of gas once again? This is supposed to be instead of the state gas tax, but there will still be the outrageously confiscatory federal gas tax, verdad?

As the mileage tax gets increased again and again, shall we expect to see more state sponsored bond initiatives to establish (extablish, IYAAVOPS) and extend light rail systems all around the state? Sooner rather than later? After all, what they dearly, dearly want, is to get us out of our independent, individualistic automobiles and onto crowded, stinking, regimented public transit. The better to get the teeming masses to the internment camps at need, don't you know.

As the state begins to track the mileage of each and every inmate of the Stalag, how long will it be until the begin to sell the collected data on individuals' driving habits to commercial interests?

Now, we know the feds. The feds are the most greedy, nasty, underhanded bunch of thugs in the history of the world (in part, because of the heavy technology they command), and will very soon be tapping into state data on our driving habits for their own nefarious purposes. Like where you go to hide your cache of gold. Like where your cousin, the underground barterer lives. Like where you pick up the ganja.

Kind of makes the old question, "Your papers, please?" obsolete, doesn't it?

Col. Hogan
?????Riddle me this, Batman??????

Is it more rational, or more reasonable to let your morality be dictated by an book written by an unknown number of unnamed individuals in monestaries in Europe in the Dark Ages, or to discover morality for yourself, building upon the thinking of philosophers over the Ages, augmented by your own thinking, observations and introspection?

Conservatives repeatedly make the word "morality" synonymous with "the word of god." If your morality doesn't come from that alledgedly holy tome, it can't possibly be moral, good or proper. Or even civilized. Yet no pair of these conservatives can agree wholly upon what the bible says. Or what some of its admonitions mean, exactly. Or how to deal with the contradictions between how a topic is treated in one book, as opposed to how the same topic is treated in another.

Makes my petty disagreements with say, Murray Rothbard, seem minor by comparison. We would both agree to the evil of the initiation of force against others. We both would agree to the goodness of treating those with whom you deal politely and honestly. After that, the rest becomes small change.

Col. Hogan

Sunday, November 14, 2004

At the beginning of October this year, I went to the Freedom Summit in Phoenix for a fun-filled weekend, listening to intellectuals give their warnings, their reasoning for them to learn more about what other libertarians are doing and to meet and chat with some of the people whose books I've read over the years.

This year, I'd arranged a lunch date with an old friend who lives in Phoenix. I arrived at the hotel earlier than I expected, after a wonderfully peaceful drive across the California desert overnight. The hotel graciously gave me my room at 8AM, upon my arrival. I was able to change, freshen up and relax a little before Anne arrived.

Anne turns out to be a joy to talk to. We chatted about a number of things: our mutual friends, what we each are doing and I asked her questions about the Phoenix area by way of gathering information to be useful for a possible move to the Phoenix area in a year or so. We talked about conditions in California and Arizona and how they differ. And how they are similar. Seems a lot of people, disturbed over how bad business and working conditions are in California, are moving themselves and their businesses to other states--not the least of which is Arizona. Unfortunately, after many of them move, they influence the politics of their new home that it becomes more like California. Libertarians in Arizona aren't very happy about ex-Californians influencing the politics of Arizona to bring California-style regulation and taxation to their state but it goes on, and I digress....

The first event in the Summit was the Friday evening Meet and Greet Dinner. The food was, er, pretty good. We heaped up our plates buffet-style, then went looking for a table among dozens of individuals and small groups of friends already seated.

I attended last year's event, but as it was my first, I had been very subdued and actually met very few people. While I ate alone at a table in the corner of the dining room, I eventually got into a delightful conversation with a Las Vegas firefighter and his teenaged son, and with George Smith, who was to be the Keynote Speaker at Saturday dinner. The Fireman, I believe, was an Objectivist-Conservative. His son, it's refreshing to note, seemed to be actively thinking along political/philosophic lines and was not at all the typical mush-minded gov't school liberal. It was wonderful to observe this young lad thinking and answering in a way that was not obviously the parrotting of civics and sociology teachers' bromides.

As can be done in Arizona, several of the attendees wore sidearms throughout the proceedings. I found this both novel and liberating. Oddly, counter to the assumptions of the sundry members of the gun control crowd, no one was injured or killed. An armed society is, indeed, a polite society. An interesting sidebar: The girl who took our tickets as we entered the dining room asked me why I was carrying a gun. The line was moving slowly, so I had a few moments to speak to her. My first remark was, "Because I can." After a moment of thought, I added, "The weapon is for self defense, which is my right. It will never be used in an act of agression."
She seemed to accept my comment, and didn't seem upset or nervous. Either she was very good at masking her negative feelings, or she had none.

This was a summary of Friday's events. I'll continue later.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Well, I just heard about the accidental (?) strafing of a government school in New Jersey by a National Guard F-16. Fortunately, it happened late at night and no one was hurt.

News of the event brought immediately to mind a number of conversations I've had in recent years about the Second Amendment, gun rights and government's role in the defense of Americans.

I've long been an advocate of our right to weapons of self defense. By this I've always meant our right to own and carry handguns, and to own more powerful weapons such as semi-automatic long guns and maybe light automatic rifles (submachine guns, etc.) for possible battle in a full breakdown of society of a rebellion against a likely future (did I say future?) police state.

The F-16 story reminds me that I've taken it a step further in the past couple of years or so--this thanks and a tip of the ol' fedora to author L Neil Smith, a man who's many long steps along the path to the understanding of human freedom than am I.

I'm now of the opinion that man has the right to own and, if necessary, use any weapon that he deems useful in defense of his person, loved ones and property. Any weapon.

The argument goes: You mean you want your next door neighbor to have a nuclear (nucular, IYAAVOPS) bomb in his basement? Thinking I'll wilt and hide under the sofa. Well, no such luck, sports fans. My answer to this strange scenario is thus: I already do have such a neighbor. But wait! It gets worse.

The guy in that F-16 is my next door neighbor and he has weapons far and above what I'm legally allowed to own, and he's one dumb son of a bitch! I guarantee you that if I had the means and the legal "permission" to own a fully armed F-16, I wouldn't be flitting around shooting up government schools! Whether it's a Ruger Standard .22 pistol or a fully automatic .50 caliber machine gun, you don't shoot it unless you know where the bullets are going.

The fact is, our friendly neighborhood police state won't give us the legal prerogative to use such weapons. They do give them to brain-dead 22-year-old marching morons who are supposed to use them when ordered to do so, without even knowing why or against whom.

Personally, I think I'd prefer to trust my next door neighbor--as long as I can have one, too.

Col. Hogan