Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy Safe 'n' Sane New Year!

Debbie and I are relaxing and watching New Year coverage on our "we report, you decide" news station. To resist utter boredom, I'm also reading my recently-purchased unabridged copy of Tom Paine Maru, by L Neil Smith, downloaded from through a link found here. The original, pubished by Del Rey in 1984, was edited by a heavy, non-libertarian hand.

While covering the mass party in Times Square in New York, it was mentioned that the partying millions filling the streets are not allowed to smoke or drink!?!

NOT ALLOWED TO SMOKE OR DRINK??? On the public streets of New York City on New Year's Eve?

I guess I know where I'll never be spending New Year's Eve. Or for sure I'll be spending it indoors at a party.

Of course, I quit cigarettes many years ago, but I do like an occasional nip o' the Irish. Or the odd bottle of Blue.

It's downright disgusting how far we've gone toward some shrivelled-up old fogey's idea of political correctness.

Anyway, here's to you all. Have a happy and prosperous New Year!

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Devolution of the Corporation

Have you noticed that the larger corporations seem to be wandering lost through the world economy? That corporate issues are far more important to the Boards of Directors than are the actual products and services produced? Corporations fill their home offices with unneeded executives--vice presidents and assistants to vice presidents--and their regional offices with regional managers and assistants to regional managers, not to mention area managers and their assistants, safety officers and human resources officers. Sexual harrassment officers, for cryin' out loud.

Scott Adams knows it, and I know it: his Dilbert cartoon series is a lot closer to the mark than many corporate officers would ever admit.

The dirty little secret is that the rank and file in many of these firms is given the short shrift, in the form of understaffing, underqualified staffing, a plethora of needless rules and a communications wall between lower and upper etchelons. Executive ranks regale themselves with high salaries, bodaceous benefits and luxurious working spaces. Even in non-union industries employees are treated as interchangeable ciphers when they're regarded at all.

Wow! This all sounds like an introduction to some Marxist tract, doesn't it? Well, that's not it at all, boys and girls. Attend!

There's an illness in the corporate structure. It'd be guesswork to try to say whence the illness began. Some say it was with greedy owners of the firms. That might be true in the isolated case, but I don't think it captures the root of the problem.

So, class, from what entity do nearly all of our problems eminate? Anyone?

Hermione gets it right once again. Government! Ten points for Gryffindor!

The beginnings of the current malaise coincide roughly with the beginnings of the rapid increases in the size and scope of government, not long after the War Between the States. During that period, encompassing roughly seventy-five years, we find that many of our favorite technological advances were begun. Automobiles. Transcontinental rail travel--and shipping. Aircraft. Telephones. Radio. The assembly line. It's a long list.

Why haven't automakers filled the skies with flying personal cars? Why hasn't the aeronautics industry made travel between the planets and asteroids a routine practice? Why aren't we living 150-year healthy, vigorous lives?

Virtually all of these industries and others had the following in common: The ownership of the firms comprising these industries were overwhelmingly hands-on builders. Henry Ford built automobiles, as did Ransom E Olds and most of the others. Alex Bell figured out the telephone. Thomas Edison....what can I say: he did everything. There are many more; I'll spare you the list.

Who are our corporate heads now? Lawyers. To a man. The only major exception that comes to mind is in computer software development. Not surprisingly, software development is just about the only industry in which there's still quite a bit of innovation. As the software industry turns more and more toward lawyers to head their firms, expect to see this innovation gradually go into decline (I'm thinking that Microsoft may have already begun the first dance).

We now have hundreds of large corporations, headed by lawyers, carrying relatively few engineers (or accountants or medical doctors or other scientists) in top management, doing what they've always done, by rote, with innovation largely stifled.

Now we come to the "why?" Why would movers and shakers; inventors and builders, turn their babies over to twentieth (now twenty-first) century mercenaries? Because, thanks to the huge and ever-heaping numbers of government taxation and regulation, it's become a major pain in the ass to innovate. You have to be a lawyer to be able to figure out whose palms to grease and how to skirt the worst of it.

Ask Preston Tucker. While he did take some shortcuts, they were shortcuts across government regulations. In a short time, I'm convinced he would've had a product that would cause the other automakers to make adjustments to compete. They didn't want to have to make adjustments, so the lawyers at GM used the lawyers in the government to eliminate the Tucker.

There's really only one cure for this mess. When one of these humungous corporations go belly-up, which occasionally happens, they should be let to die. Assets should be sold off to, one hopes, to smaller firms who can actually perform the work that might have been done by the failed corporation, had it remained capable.

Government needs to leave business alone. Government employees are drones. Unable to be productive on their own, they seek the shelter of government to provide them with their needs without need to produce. How can they be expected to improve the productivity of others? They cannot. They can only become impediments to productivity. Regulation by government must end.

Taxation must end. Anything government can't get We the People to finance by voluntary means shouldn't be done. During the aforementioned times of American productivity, there was little or no taxation. Members of productive firms were able to work unshackled, reinvesting as much of their profits to improve their productivity as they wished. Today, these same individuals proceed only after severe regulatory restrictions and approximately a fifty-percent "protection" rakeoff to government.

What a handicap! Fifty percent of everything everyone earns going to utter waste! Actually, it's worse than waste: those who get the fifty percent delight in using it to buy the shackles for those productive among us. Many governments have been taken down by their own citizens (read victims) for less!

The US Constitution would be a pretty good guide, if anyone in government would read and heed. Ok, I know the Constitution was written a long time ago by "libertarian pioneers," and we've learned a lot since those days, IF government followed the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to the letter, we'd have a free society with which we'd have relatively few and minor complaints. We could do away with government regulation of money at our leisure, after that!

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Monday, December 26, 2005

A wonderful New Year's Resolution for the President

"I take my responsibility to protect the American people seriously. Therefore, starting January first, 2006, all of America's thousands of unConstitutional laws against self defense shall be repealed by Executive Order. The best way to protect the American people is to allow them to protect themselves."

Thus signed by a fictional President of the United States who has actually read, and who understands, the Bill of Rights.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm Regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Andre Rieu Christmas Concert

Having been a part-time classical music fan since high school, I'm always casually on the lookout for composers and works new to me. I suppose I've devoted the majority of my music listening to rock 'n'roll, but I keep coming back to classical, to the great surprise of most of my friends. You see, I don't give the impression that I'm a classical music afficianado to many.

About threee or fourrrr years ago, I stumbled onto Andre Rieu on the Arts Channel on TV. The station, which has since been removed by Adelpia for some reason known only to them, played videos, many of which were of classical orchestras playing famous classical pieces.

Some of the many MTV-style (back, for those of you old enough to remember, when MTV used to play music videos) bits they showed on the Arts Channel were Strauss waltzes played by an orchestra of relatively young, attractive and photogenic musicians that turned out to be the Andre Rieu Orchestra. I eventually learned that Rieu is a Dutchmen, tours a lot throughout Europe and has a number of DVD's and CD's on the market. I've bought several of them.

I've always loved Strauss music, even before I knew who Strauss was--or were, since there were more than one of them. Johann, the original Viennese Waltz King, and his sons Johann, Jr (the one we know best) and Josef (his brother). There was even more talent in the family, but they're not important.

What is important, is that waltzes are beautiful and Strauss, Jr became the king of the waltz following in the footsteps of his father.

Andre Rieu and his orchestra play Strauss waltzes very nicely!

For the first time ever, Andre Rieu took his tour here to the Los Angeles area. Debbie and I went, yesterday, to his concert at the LA Sports Arena.

I was a mite worried. The LA Sports Arena is the home of the USC Trojans baxabaw team. Horror! I had thoughts of a jock odor throughout the building.

No, it was fine. We had center aisle seats on the floor. They started with The entry of the Gladiators, during which the entire orchestra passed through the center aisle from the rear, to stairs up to the stage. The entire orchestra passed within a couple of feet of my own self! I'll tell you, some of the female musicians were absolutely stunning!

Being close to Christmas, the program called for a series of Christmas songs, played by the orchestra and sang by a trio of tenors and a trio of sopranoes. They included Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Winter Wonderland, Sleigh Ride and Silent Night. It was a lot of fun.

After an intermission, they played some waltzes and some opera selections (sung by the aforementioned singers). The climax of the evening was his arrangement of Strauss' The Blue Danube during which Rieu asked those who wish to dance, to do so in the aisles. Many did.

The orchestra followed all that with a loooong encore.

It was a very cool evening. I recommend Andre Rieu to anyone who loves the waltz.


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

How I Learned to Read

The first credit goes to Mom. When we were crumb-crunchin' ankle biters, she used to read to us (I have two bros and a sis) from The Brothers Grimm: the old one in which Gretel killed the Wicked Witch, and the Big Bad Wolf ate Little Red Riding Hood's sweet old Granny, then was executed by the Good Woodsman. I've had a thing for girls in red hoodies ever since.

In the Frozen North, when I was a wee lad, there was no TV. Oh, we all saw the ads for Sylvania and RCA TVs in The Saturday Evening Post, and we sure wanted one. There were no TV stations in the area. So, no Howdy Doody and no Uncle Miltie.

I floated through school, learning to read, write and all the other stuff while investing as little of my time as possible, because there were so many other, more important things to do!

My next mentor was my Senior year English teacher, Mrs Steen. I don't think she did anything dramatic, but she had a way of teaching that got me reading. I finally began to see the value in books. I got acqainted with the early novels of Robert Heinlein and others.

In the Navy, there's an amazing amount of down time. There were several hours with nothing to do every day we were at sea. That's when I got acquainted with James Bond, Matt Helm, Mike Hammer and Shell Scott.

Soon after gettin out of the Navy, I moved to LA. While getting started on my career in construction, I stumbled on a book called "The Fountainhead." It changed my life. Over half the books I've read from then to this day have had to do with objectivism, libertarianism, free market economics and self-reliance. The rest of them were sci-fi, western and historical novels. I literally carry my current book with me wherever I go, in case I should find five or ten minutes to read a few pages.

They've enriched my life in more ways than I know and helped make me the charming, well-informed bon vivant I am today. I also have over a thousand volumes that I have to lug around with me whenever I move. Well, sometimes I want to reread one of them!

I read "Atlas Shrugged" about every year or so. I'm reading "The Order of the Phoenix" right now.

I'm not sure I'd recommend that everyone become as much the reading fanatic as I, but one could do worse. I find it distressing that today's schools don't seem to be able to teach many students how to read, and they teach even fewer of them to like reading. I guess that's why they put pictures of the hamburgers on the cash register keyboard at McDonald's.


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Another Lynching in Mississippi

I'm still awaiting further information, but it's not necessary, really. The facts I have are enough.

A young man of the black persuasion, by the name of Cory Maye was accosted while he slept by one of those gangs of black armor-wearing jack-booted thugs known as SWAT teams. They apparently had some sort of a search warrant for the front half of a duplex, but also broke into the rear apartment at the same time. Whether there was a warrant for the rear apartment is still in question--the prosecutor says there was, but it has yet to be produced.

Maye, who had been sleeping in a chair, retreated to his baby daughter's room, found his handgun, loaded it and shot the first assailant to enter the bedroom, hitting the man in a vulnerable spot below his armor. He soon died. Maye states that he never heard the police knock nor announce themselves. Based on the reputation that Mississippi police departments have in black neighborhoods (and all police departments have in the so-called "War on Drugs) , I'm inclined to believe Mr Maye. You see, the officer who first to enter the apartment and who was killed was the son of the Chief or Police. More than enough facts to cause a Southern lynching are in place.

Maye was arrested, "tried," convicted and sentenced to be executed. The Agitator has written a far more detailed accout of the events than I, and has been following the story carefully as it progresses.

Whether or not there was a warrant, and whether or not the police tried to serve it properly is all beside the point.

No one has the right to dictate to any other what he may ingest. Whether or not there were drugs in the building is irrelevant. According to the Constitution of the United States, and the Bill of Rights, the police were guilty of breaking and entering and Mr Maye was fully within his rights to defend his home.

The government which presumes to order that the ownership and use of certain substances are illegal is wrong.

The goverment which presumes to send police into a neighborhood with which they're unfamiliar is wrong.

The government which presumes to issue pre-signed warrants from tear-off pads is wrong.

The government which presumes to send armored police into an individual's property without announcing is wrong.

The government which presumes to make nearly everything illegal so that they have an excuse to arrest anyone at any time is wrong.

It really doesn't matter if Mr. Maye happened to have a smoked roach in an ashtray (which was likely planted by the jack-booted thugs) or if the individuals in the front apartment were selling certain agricultural commodities, satisfying their customers' desires and making a profit in the process. That's the American way, is it not? Capitalism in its purest form.

Something has to be done about rogue cops and the immoral system that sanctions their existence.


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Friday, December 09, 2005

Bill of Rights Day - December 15, 1791

I think it's time I wrote a little about the Bill of Rights, since it's the Document that makes the United States the economically powerful and relatively free nation it is today. I say relatively free because that's merely a comparison to other countries around the world. When compared to a model of ideal freedom, or even when compared to the freedom Americans enjoyed a century ago, we're not free. Not even close.

The Bill of Rights was ratified on December 15, 1791. It came into being at the behest of the delegations of several of the original thirteen states, who refused to join the union without it.

Now, after many decades of government schooling of children and the attending redefinition of the role of government in our lives, most people are only peripherally aware of the Bill of Rights, and have very little knowledge of its content and purpose. We also have to suffer the news media, the politicians and high-profile legal "experts" redefining Americans' rights and the proper relationship between us and our servants in government.

Thus, we have Bill of Rights Day. Many freedom-loving individuals, beginning (for me) with Aaron Zelman of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO), have suggested an annual recognition of this day. A part of his site details his views on the promotion of Bill of Rights Day.

Here are the Ten Amendments that are our Bill of Rights, with a very brief addendum for each by yours truly.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or preventing the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

This is seemingly the only Amendment of which ACLU is aware, and toward which they invest nearly all of their efforts. On the other hand they are, more often than not, on the wrong side of the Amendment. Colleges and universities, once bastions of free speech and free inquiry, have become the worst violators of the free speech clause. Conservatives take great glee at enumerating the limitations on free speech. They are always wrong. Disgusting speech, or speech with which we disagree, is still protected by the Amendment. Government itself violates the right to free assembly in many, many cases. After all this and more, the First Amendment is where most of our freedom resides, and is nominally still respected--at least when it's convenient to do so.

Amendment II

A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Freedom-loving individuals face a constant battle against government to keep this Amendment intact. There are thousands of (unConstitutional) laws that limit the right to arm and defend oneself, and more limitations appear fairly often, but the Amendment stands. Many individuals keep illegal weapons surreptitiously, in defiance of these illegal laws, within their rights as individuals. More power to 'em!

Amendment III

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner prescribed by law.

While the government takes more than enough money to supply our military with quarters, it could be suggested that, since they've militarized the nation's police agencies, separated them from the general population and started referring to them as other than civilians, the case can easily be made that they become an army, quartered among us. No law-abiding American feared the beat cop in blue; everyone fears those nazi-esque storm troopers in black armor that pop up at virtually any excuse (remember the Democrat and Republican Party Conventions a little over a year ago?) and terrorize neighborhoods. That's the steep part of a very slippery slope.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the person or thing to be seized.

Well, what can I say? This one has been so roundly violated that it might as well be stricken from the document. The real violations came with the so-called War on Drugs. Violations have increased by orders of magnitude with the addition of the horribly misnamed War on Terror--the portions of which are directed against the population of the United States. Search warrants are mass-produced in tear-off pads, already signed and sealed. Objects of the warrants are forbidden to disclose that they've been served (if, of course, they were actually told about the search themselves!).

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb, nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, of property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.

The main difficulties here are with government's (both police and the courts) utter disregard for due process, particularly in drug and other contraband prosecutions and more recently, in the cases arising from the "War on Terror." Pundits and government spokesmen cite the urgency of the situation, but thrashing through the rights of both alleged violators of the (not usually rational) law, and uninvolved bystanders, is no substitute for good police work.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed; which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witrnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

The speedy trial has gone out the window many decades ago. As the number of (mostly irrational) possibilities of violations of the sensibilities of the government increases exponentially, and the numbers of accused criminals mounts alongside, pressure on the courts to handle these cases, along with the demands of attorneys, means an accused individual might wait years with a sword over his head before the arrival of his day in court. Government-inspired irregularities caused by inconsistencies between the law and the Constitution generally go in favor of law enforcement, at the expense of the individual.

Amendment VII

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by jury shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Thanks to government's inflation of the money supply, particularly over the past eighty years or so, twenty dollars doesn't mean much anymore. Nonetheless, the right to a jury trial has become more difficult and tenuous--particularly in cases in which government is the plaintiff. Judges and prosecutors practice jury tampering routinely, lying to juries about their legal responsibilities, prerogatives under the law, and duties.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Setting of bail has deteriorated to an amount based upon the ability of the accused to pay, rather than the severity of the crime, as often do fines imposed. This had largely come about as a result of the so-called "War on Drugs."

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or desparage others retained by the prople.

When conservative pundits proclaim that there is no right to privacy, they're dead wrong. This Amendment is where that right (among others) resides. The source of the denial of the right to privacy began with the unConstitutional beginning of the federal income taxes (Amendment XVI doesn't even begin to address the Constitutional problems of this imposition) and carrries through to include any personal information the individual doesn't want known by government. Government's seeking out of private information released by the individual to private concerns for private purposes is as unConstitutional as their raiding and searching that person's home and effects without a duly executed warrant.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

What this catchall Amendment tells us is that government can do nothing, except what is specifically enumerated in the Constitution. Nothing. When the infamous and illegal Federal Bureau of Investigation was founded, the proper thing to ask was, "does the Constitution authorize the founding of a national police force?" No, it doesn't. Nor does the Constitution authorize any of the many other national police agencies that have been illegally created in the past few decades. Nor FEMA. Nor the Dept of Education. Nor any of the other big-spending bureaucracies created by various would-be dictators in Washington DC. The authorizations might be achieved by Constitutional Amendment, but wasn't. Laws might be implemented to allow easier communication and cooperation between the police departments of the cities and states, and private crime laboratories could be used for the sophisticated investigations. Private charities and accreditation firms might take on most of these other tasks, as well. Unfortunately for the constantly overburdened taxpayer, that was not the way government, in its compulsive desire to grow and involve itself in private affairs, decided to go.

Thus, I plan to mumble many obscenities on the 15th day of December, as I reflect upon freedom lost. I'll wear my Scott Beiser "Bill of Rights Enforcement" t-shirt, and generally be a pain in the ass to all, on the subject. May Thomas Paine have mercy on my soul.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Friday, December 02, 2005

The Holiday Which Shall Not Be Named

As the PC gang attempts to generically rename everything that has a "white American" or "white European" name or tradition, in its self-destructive rush to destroy anything that reminds the world of Euro-American and particularly American mastery of nature and the happiness and well-being of the individual, we see, among many other things, an attempted denial of our many heroes, climactic events and traditions. Government schools (aka children's prisons) downplay or eliminate the teaching of history, particularly the parts of it of which Euro-Americans can be and ought to be most proud. Many US government children's prisons start the teaching of US history with the War Between the States--its PC name: the "Civil" War, and the reconstruction. That is, they start US History with the beginnings of the expansion of the federal government.

The segment of PC of which I speak today, however, is the renaming and general denouncement of the favorite holiday of many, particularly christians: Christmas. Christmas is, on the one hand, a celebration of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. The giving involved is said to commemorate the gifts brought by the three Magi kings and others to Jesus on the day of his birth. I have no idea how much of this story is historically accurate, but I conditionally accept it that far (and not much farther). On the other hand, an older celebration is the pagan observance of winter solstice. Jews observe Hannukah in the same time period and Black Americans have popped out with a largely irrelevant celebration they call Quanzaa, not to be outdone.

Thanks to the PC gang, everyone has to give extra thought to whether and how they publicly celebrate the season. Childrens' prisons have to be careful about the nature of their Christmas pageants, and many convert the shows in which the students participate to generic celebrations of....nothing in particular. Others eschew such celebrations entirely. Merchants wonder how to advertise. Nativity Scenes can no longer be placed in public areas (ok, so maybe that's all right--there is, after all, the Establishment Clause, with which I agree), and we have to ask whether the tree is a Christmas tree or a Holiday tree. And whether we'll be sued by the ACLU if we make the wrong choice.

My celebration of the season notes the significance of winter solstice: the shortest day of the year and the beginning of lengthening days--and an anticipation of the arrival of spring, but really centers on the uniquely American celebration of Immaculate Consumption. We give because we can. We like to give neat things to our loved ones and we like them to see the degree of our success. I like to get together with friends and family during the period surrounding Christmas and New Year's Day. I don't usually get gifts for many, mainly the kids, but I enjoy the get-togethers, the food, the drink (in moderate quantities, of course) and all of the extravagance that goes with it.

What the PC gang seems to dislike is our affluence. They dislike success. In the end, they dislike life. Perhaps the roots of the so-called "War on Christmas" originate with that.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Jack Boot Thugs Pandemic

In its rush to establish a techno-police state, the current administration is pursuing various seemingly minimally intrusive, and sometimes more intrusive methods of getting We The People more used to the omnipresence of police among the population, who are to be seen as having power to accost, identify and question any individual at any time for any or no reason.

Note a new initiative to thwart "terrorists" in Miami (which has to be distinguished from Miami-Dade, which is in a part of Florida that has many and various problems of its own) a known locus of illegal activity of all sorts. Seems the local Jack-Booted Thugs pick banks, hotels and other public places to seal off the location and check identification of those incarcerated therein, to be allowed to exit, presumably. Woe to the individual who forgets his wallet! Details here. This, presumably, in lieu of actually doing anything effective (and Constitutional) about the evil fundie islamists.

At least one person, Deborah Davis of Arvada, Colorado, is resisting this new pandemic (I use the term "pandemic" not in its real sense, but in the attempt to increase the State of Fear, much like the way it's used by the news media). When she rode a public bus to work, and the bus route happened to pass through a government installation (for the convenience of the government sloths who occupy space in that installation for eight and no more than eight hours a day whenever they can't get out of it) . At a bus stop inside the government drone farm, she was asked to produce identification. She refused. She said no. She was arrested. Some of her supporters refer to her as "the Rosa Parks of the Patriot Act generation." Details here.

As the shackles of the George W Bush police state tighten around the wrists and ankles of all of us (unless you are an Arabic-looking young man), we need to learn to say NO to tyranny in whatever ways we can.


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Friday, November 25, 2005

A Bitter-Sweet Thanksgiving

The bad part was my fault, really. We're not really given to spending most of the day cooking and baking, so some years we find a nice restaurant to have Thanksgiving dinner. That's what we tried to do this time.

My mother, and recent years my sister, are unbeatable as far as great Thanksgiving dinners go. I'll stack 'em up against anybody. They all went to my brother's new digs in the Zone this year, and I wasn't able to get away.

Debbie got together with my old hot rodding pal from El Cajon, and he and his wife decided to drive up and join us for dinner at a restaurant. As far as the restaurant went, we made an unfortunate choice.

We had a wonderful visit; talked about many things. We really don't do it often enough, and that's really my fault. I'm the busy one who often works six days a week and has more other interests than I have time for. Nonetheless, it was a good afternoon and a great visit.

Now, for the bad news. The restaurant we chose (most restaurants being closed for the holiday) was a touristy sort of European village place that was having a special Thanksgiving buffet. Since it was a special deal, they set it up in a dance hall which, in the daylight, devoid of the dance hall decorations and lighting, had all the ambiance of a small airplane hangar.

The food was.....ok. Unfortunately, our reservation time was fairly near the end of their day, so some of the items on the buffet were in short supply. The serving people were anticipating closing time, so they had their minds elsewhere.

In short, the dinner was a less than satisfactory experience. I'll know better next time. I don't think Old World Village will see me tippy-toeing over their threshold for a long, long time.

The visit from our friends saved the day. As time goes by, I appreciate the time spent with good friends more and more.


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Tin Man is On the No-Fly List

Here it is, the dreaded Holiday season once again. Time to go over the river and through the woods, to visit loved ones for Thanksgiving, then on its heels will come Christmas and a plethora of other holidays that just happen to fall on Winter Solstice (which is the real reason for the season). I'll have to avoid driving too close to the malls for a while.

The one-horse open sleigh is obsolete, at least partly because most grandmas live more than five or ten miles away. They're as likely to want to meet at a ski resort as at their homes.

So we fly. We fly to meet them at their cabin in South Lake Tahoe or their Manhattan apartment.

The temptation now, is to remind everyone of the barbarity of the very intrusive and unConstitutional searches that happen every day at airports, and that one now has to have government approval to fly. This while the baggage that is checked into the cargo space in the plane gets virtually no scrutiny at all. So much for resisting temptation.

Well, I won't be flying. If the airlines want my money, their corporate officers will have to grow spines, and tell the Evil Emporer to remove his thugs and "we'll take care of our own security, thank you very much."

So, I'll drive my 275-horse open sleigh. It works just fine.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Friday, November 18, 2005

Why Hate Republicans?

As most of you know, I pay attention to politics. I don't have time to watch it as much as the real bloggers; maybe not that much interest, but it gives me something about which to complain.

As most of you also know, I'm a libertarian. A pretty radical one. When I say radical, I mean that it all starts from the fact that no individual may initiate force against any other--never, never, not ever. Even the National Libertarian Party, which once required one's signature on a pledge of non-initiation of force as a term of membership, has continually been trying to get its members to put an end to the requirement to sign that Pledge. I'm not sure if they still require it or not. I do.

My handy-dandy quick-snap gauge to separate capitalists from socialists is the following: Any individual who advocates government's right to forcibly tax its citizens, that is, initiate force to raise revenue, that individual is a socialist. Any individual who denies government (or any entity) that right, is a capitalist.

Which brings me to my point--why hate republicans? Well, I don't only hate republicans, I also hate democrats, greens and other assorted socialists. The thing is....democrats, greens, peace & freedom types, etc. are so nearly incoherent, are so opposed to everything that sustains life and makes it worth living, that only the very worst victims of the government's alleged school system can be taken in by them (the bad news: thanks to these same schools, the incoherence is growing). Republicans at least sound as if they have coherent arguments. That, of course, deserves more scrutiny.

If you listen to most conservative (republican) intellectuals, politicians and pundits, they talk a fairly good game proclaiming their interest in and perference for capitalism. They praise the virtues and benefits of the free market, individual rights and the wonder of individual initiative. They proclaim that capitalism makes us free. That the free market raises the tide of man's ability to live in comfort and happiness. That the tide of a free society "raises all boats." Indeed it does.

When we see the inconsistencies inherent in the conservative philosophy (such as it is), we have to wonder, though, what do they mean when they call up the revered word "capitalism?" Of what, to a conservative, does a free market consist? What is the philosophical justification for individual freedom?

Here, my friends, is where conservatives stand foursquare, unmoving and unmoveable, rockribbed and square-jawed, on a foundation of quicksand. They base their entire (some dare call it) philosophy on the christian god. They're ever so fond of pointing to their "god-given rights" as an answer to just about any political question or challenge. Oh, my!

When one answers any question with, "because god says so" or "it's in the bible," there is no where you can go with that. It's of course, not true, but there's a not-so-implicit moral sanction that says, "say no more, god said it, I believe it and that settles it."

God didn't say it. It may be in the bible, but who wrote the bible? How many times has it been translated and retranslated? What about the inconsistencies from book to book? Why do so many people read the bible and come away with widely differing conclusions? It makes no sense.

Man's rights derive from his nature as man. Every individual has the same rights and there is no multiplication of rights by virtue of number. These are rights to life, liberty and property. Therefore, to deny an individual's right to his property by force is to steal. George Bush has no more right to steal my property (my money) than does Alfredo Simpson of Merced. 290 million Americans don't have the right to vote to take the farm of one--no matter what the intended use.

Republicans often (not always) agree with much of this, although they grant government the right to steal some portion of my property for various purposes "as long as it's reasonable." This is where they fail, but it gets worse. Republicans espouse the virtues of a gruel of capitalism mixed with a reasonable amount of government theft, regulation and redistribution (the degree varies with the individual republican), as long as it's for "good purposes," but hold that, to a certain degree (the degree varies), that men should be free and have the right to life, liberty and property. To a degree.

Ok, you can kind of live with that. Now, wait until the republican runs for public office and gets elected. His conservative philosophy is so tenuously held and so ill-defined that when the left opposes him on any issue, he always folds. Always. Republicans, when elected, check their spines at the door of Congress (or whatever office to which they are elected).

That's why I hate republicans. I grew up in a republican atmosphere. It was from conservatism that I moved toward libertarianism. I get their philosophy, even though I no longer agree with much of it. Would that they could actually firm up their principles (such as they are), take them to Congress and fight for them, they'd win. If they would actually firm up those principles, though, they'd either move farther toward socialism--or maybe toward libertarianism. Republicanism is kind of an icky place filled with soft, wet things like Dennis Hastert and Trent Lott. No thinker would want to stay there.

No Republican will vote to deny the government to prerogative to initiate force against American citizens. They won't.

They're socialists.


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Taking a Short Vacation

I'll be away for a few days, starting tomorrow after work. Once again, I'll be attending The Freedom Summit in Phoenix Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday.

The Freedom Summit is one of several weekend fora around the country each year in which it's possible to be around like-minded people (and no one but like-minded people) for an entire weekend. It's kind of cool when you can wear a sidearm on your belt and have no one freak out at the sight of it.

Speakers this year include George H Smith, Sunni Maravillosa and David Friedman. There are several others about whom I know little or nothing but, hey! that's how you learn new stuff.

So, I'll be back Tuesday or Wednesday with a new outlook and even more dislike for all things governmental.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Friday, November 04, 2005

Lamenting the Disappearance of Monica

I think it was love at first sight. Monica White wrote a short article for the Atlasphere on the tv series "Firefly," back in August of last year, then followed it up with another on the art of Jack Vettriano about a month later.

Well, I'd been watching "Firefly" when it was on first run. I loved it! Space anarchists freelancing on the edges of the Empire! A libertarian dream! What Monica did was put a lot of my thoughts on the series into words, in a way I hadn't tried. I went right out and bought the series boxed set and have watched each episode a couple of times (so far!).

I hadn't heard of Jack Vettriano, but her review of his art, infused with images of several of his works, added another artist to the list of those I like.

Reading her Networking Profile told me that she was from Perth, Australia, now living in London. It told me she was an objectivist (in London!) and that she had a blog she called Th'inkwell--just a minor example of her witty use of the English language.

I read her blog and quickly realized that Monica has a degree of perceptiveness matched only by her artful and rational way of writing about that which she experiences. I devoured each entry to her blog as it appeared. She wrote fairly regularly about a wide variety of subjects until late this past February when she announced she was quitting, her interest in writing the blog was on the wane.

Well, it was a wonderful blog. Currently, since the site is still up, I'm reading the archives from time to time when I need a Monica fix. I'm nearly caught up to the place where I started. Oh well.

Several of the blogs I read are sites whose links I first found on Th'inkwell.

Thanks, Monica.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


There was a segment on one of the tv talk shows about a "girl-cott" over a line of t-shirts for young women sold at Abercrombie & Fitch. The t-shirts have slogans like "I had a nightmare I was a brunette," "Do I make you look fat?" and "Blondes are adored, brunettes are ignored."

The leaders of this "girl-cott" are using such politically correct buzz words as "inappropriate" and "not empowering" and even "racist" to denounce this clothing line. We can start by wondering how one gets racism out of the battle between blondes and brunettes.

Now, there are a lot of t-shirts worn by both men and women that I don't like. T-shirts promising physical assault for various actions and thoughts (such as burning the flag), t-shirts prostletyzing religion and Che Guevara t-shirts come quickly to mind. Am I going to make a big deal out of it? Nope. I just won't be buying any of those t-shirts, and I probably won't be befriending individuals who make those kinds of wardrobe choices.

One begins to wonder about the adaptability of these individuals to the highly competitive, dog-eat-dog, laugh-in-the-face-of-death world of full-contact career-seeking professionals, if they're so easily offended (to the point of being driven to action) by such trivialities. How will they cope, how will they cope?


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Friday, October 28, 2005

The Lady Justice

Having written the last article reminded me of a very funny event that happened in GWB's first term. You might recall the minor flap (which should have been a much bigger story, dealing with certain very obvious psychological issues) in which then Attorney General Ashcroft had the statues of the Lady Justice covered so he wouldn't have to be in the presence of her exposed breast.

Seems Mr Ashcroft was to speak in the Great Hall of the Department of Justice about shifting emphasis toward the War on the Rights of the American Individual (misnamed for popular misguidance, The War on Terror). At some point during his speech, or setting up for it (unclear) he noticed those pale orbs above and behind him. He developed a facial twitch.

He ordered that the offending statues be encased in burqas so that he could continue.

'Tis rather telling, when the US Attorney General is unable to stand comfortably in the presence of America's primary symbol of Justice. You have to wonder about the devils in the shadows of the mind of Mr Ashcroft.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Thursday, October 27, 2005

She Didn't Make the Cut!

Today, Harriet Miers excused herself from the room. In the wake of revelations from transcripts of speeches she gave in the 90's, showing her to be a malleable, shape-shifting ball of silly putty, she finally threw in the black terry-cloth robe. The world is a better place.

I stayed away from this debate until now because I suck as a prognosticator (I'm much better as a procrastinator, but I'll deal with that later). We didn't know much about Ms Miers, and as time dragged on, bits began to appear. Finally, I made my decision based on the fact that she has no record of having studied Constitutional law. Then, after I'd heard all I needed, I heard more: she plays the chameleon, becoming what she believes her audience wants her to be.

Not good.

Now, she's withdrawn herself from contention. I'm good with that. I'm given to understand that a groundswell of conservative criticism caused her withdrawal, though that's not what she says.

Leftists, who were pretty mixed about her because of her seeming anti-abortion ethic but, on the other hand, is a woman, place the blame on the "far right wing." Someone even said that Miers, who seems less ept than other potential candidates, might be the Justice to represent the "common man." Or, more politically correctly, the "common person of undetermined gender."

We don't need justices that represent sections of American society. We need Justices who will compare the facts of the cases to the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and simply decide whether the lower court decisions conflict or not. There's no need to complicate it, no need to look at precedent. If the Justices study The Federalist Papers, The Anti-Federalist Papers and other letters and writings of the Founders, they will be able to understand what the Founders meant--and what the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights mean.

For example: After reading various letters written by Thomas Jefferson (and others), it becomes very clear to the point of the absolute that they meant individuals have the right to "Keep and Bear Arms" and that all able bodied men are presumed (but not required) to be the militia.

If, as the socialist sector of the Supremes assert, the Constitution needs to be updated to become more relevant to today's challenges there is, within the Constitution itself, the solution--the Amendment process. It's not the job of the Supremes to redefine the US Constitution.

It seems really odd to me that a student of American law, who has been one long enough to achieve an appointment to the Supreme Court, wouldn't know this.

Disclaimer: I'm not, in the end, an advocate of a Constitutional Republic such as we have now. I think the Republic, as framed in the Founders' papers and the Constitution and the Bill of Rights is the best form of government ever devised by man up to now. As such, I advocate a return to strict adherence to these documents--to the letter. Then, I'd advocate moving on from that point to further limiting government until it is no longer capable of initiating force against individuals.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Pounding Them Into a Single Mold

The evil and corrupt Barbara Kerr, Fuhrer of the California Teachers Assosiation (CTA) has hit the news again today, this time stumping against Props 74, 75 and 76. These are three of the new referenda put together by Guber Terminator in what he mistakenly hopes will actually make California schools better.

Prop 74 purports to make it harder for substandard teachers to get tenure. It'll make it easier to dismiss a poor teacher. (S)he can be let go after two successive unsatisfactory evaluations. Of course, that means the kids have to suffer under a bad teacher for two years. Do we hear the huzzahs?

Prop 75 requires that union members specifically allow unions to use their dues for left wing political purposes. I don't think it lessens the extortion payments if you don't allow it.

Prop 76 seems to limit increases to government schools by the state. It's more than I care about to try to figure out how. I still haven't been able to figure out why local schools need any involvement by state, or for that matter, federal government. Government schools once were wholly operated by the locality. They were better then.

Ms Kerr has been sliming the Guber's office since Ahnold was elected. One of her favorite tag lines claims that teachers help students to be able to succeed "....And no child succeeds alone." I can see it all now. No child can "succeed" (undefined) without government schools, and she plans to keep it that way.

Except that it's even harder to succeed under the handicap of a government "education," as opposed to the kinds of alternative kinds of schooling advocated by many. Among those is simple home schooling, provided by loving parents. Another is the Montessori method.

How about we take government out of the equation and leave parents with their rightful power and responsibility to care for their children, to make decisions as to the methods of rearing and education (and paying the costs of these things) of such children as they decide to have.

Incentives would be for teachers to improve their knowledge and skills rather than to vegetate in dead end government jobs. Parents would be empowered to to bring their kids up according to their own principles.

Barbara Kerr would have to go looking for a real job, and I won't have to listen to her polluting the airwaves any more.


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Safety Leads to Complacency

Once again delving into the depths of memory and, by means of a cursory awareness of history gleaned by a lot of reading, I find that government edicts achieve the opposite ends for which they were enacted.

Don't you find those millions and millions of little stickers on everything you buy demeaning, annoying, ineffective and distracting, not to mention ugly? Isn't it ridiculous that they always use this footless, handless, round-headed stick figure getting smashed, bent, spindled and mutilated by falling, smashing, crushing, dropping and drowning, not to mention getting electrocuted by just about anything with which he might come into proximity?

I recall those heady days in which step ladders didn't have stickers that warn you that you can fall off. They were made of wood then, not superconducting aluminum. Cars didn't have labels telling you to fasten your seat belts--hell what's a seat belt? Radios, tvs and other electric appliances didn't have labels warning against opening up the back--at times, you had to open 'em up. Radios and tvs had tubes that occasionally had to be replaced. Most appliances were built so that they could be taken apart and repaired in the home, if you happened to be handy and had the tools.

Now, I don't miss the days of vacuum tubes and brush-and-bushing kits. I don't even mind that these appliances are no longer repairable with a crescent wrench and a claw hammer, but those moronic stickers and safety labels really tweak my sense of the sensible.

There isn't anyone who doesn't know that you should unplug the item from the electrical source before digging into its guts. Everyone knows it's potentially dangerous to stand on the top rung of a step ladder. I usually use a seat belt in my car, but not because there used to be a little sticker telling me to do so (I peeled the dam thing off, along with all those other stupid stickers). I don't wear them because the 'trolls will cite me if I don't. I don't wear them to save myself in a collision--I'd rather avoid a collision. I wear them so that I can more easily keep my ass in the seat during hard cornering.

The problem is complacency. When you "feel safe," you usually aren't safe. You get lazy. You lose your edge. A compression tester didn't used to have a cage around it; you just knew not to stand close to it as the pressure rose. Drive belts didn't have guards; you kept your fingers out of the way.

The temptation is to say we were smarter then. We paid attention to what we were doing. Of course, there were injuries. It was almost always the dumb guy or the kid who was doing something he shouldn't.

I'm also not opposed to passive safety devices and safe work practices. I am opposed to edicts from government drones who've never worked a day in their lives. I'm opposed to dumbing down. I'm opposed to making the entire world child safe.

Sometimes goal seeking entails taking risks. Sometimes you have to do really dangerous things. Sometimes the danger is worth it. I'll look out for my safety, thank you very much.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Monday, October 17, 2005

An End to Epidemics

Boy, am I relieved! We'll never have to worry about epidemics again! Epidemics are a thing of the past!

Not so fast. The reason we'll never have another epidemic isn't that there'll never be one, it's that they've been renamed. The news media, ever looking for new ways to scare the crap out of The Great Unwashed, has decided that the specter of an epidemic is no longer very scary. Why? We have a flu epidemic just about every year, and it usually ends up that 40 or 50% of us get what amounts to a really bad cold.

How to increase the State of Fear? Read the minds of the Executive Producers of the news at CBS, NBC and ABC. "We'll start calling them pandemics! Nobody knows what a pandemic is, and we'll make it sound like the Black Plague was a walk in the park by comparison. Government schools no longer tell their students about dictionaries, so we can make a pandemic sound really, really bad!"

The word is out. Two or more people who've been in the same county this year get the same illness, It's A Pandemic! We're all going to die!

It's only a matter of time before someone'll call it all GWB's fault.

They've killed Freedom! Those Bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Friday, October 14, 2005

Cell Phone Addiction

Unlike many, I really remember when there were no cell phones. I even remember when there were no touch-tone phones and there was a wire connecting the handset to the phone body. I'll go even a step farther: I was, more than once in my youth, in a town in which you picked up the earpiece, turned a crank, waited for the operator who asked whom you were calling, then manually connected your wire to the plug of the phone of the person you were calling. Thus, the local operator always knew who was phoning whom. Cool, eh?

My first cell phone was a big, heavy thing I got in about 1993. It had a big battery pack that weighed about 4 pounds, and had a handle. You hooked the handset onto it or popped it loose to use it. The handset had the keypad, the earpiece and the mouthpiece, and had a wire to the battery pack. It wasn't worth lugging around unless I knew I'd need it.

Four phones later, I have one that fits in my shirt pocket. I absolutely refuse to buy one of those things you stick in your ear. If you have one of those, and unless you're in a business in which you have to be on the phone a lot, you're a cell phone addict. I maybe put 8-10 minutes a month on my phone.

The funniest phone addict moment I ever observed was a few years ago at Jerry's Famous Deli in Studio City. After we'd settled in and ordered, while waiting for the food, I found myself watching a young couple, apparently on a date, in nice casual evening clothes, each talking to someone else on a cell phone while their food cooled and congealed slowly in front of them.

I've watched mothers ignoring their children while talking on the phone. I've wondered whether to dare to pass a car on the freeway--driving slowly and erratically while its driver talks on the phone, a file of papers draped over the steering wheel. I don't know how many times, while having coffee at Fred and Rob's, I've observed a cell phone addict walk into the coffee shop talking on a phone, try to order and pay for coffee while holding up the conversation on the phone, others in line making faces and comments at the rude individual. I once watched a young woman at the supermarket, cruising slowly down the aisles, picking up this item and that, reading each label to the person on the phone with her. I deeply pitied the poor slob who had to listen to all that and pretend he was interested.

Now, I'm not in favor of laws against using the phone while driving nor at most other times. That said, I feel bad for the poor, insecure fools who can't stand being alone, even while driving to and from work, and thinks (s)he must talk to someone. I'm unhappy at the way so many people seem unaware of their rudeness, talking on the phone while they ought to be giving attention to the person with them.

I like cell phones, but if I had a business and I caught an employee on the phone while (s)he should be dealing with a customer: fired for cause. I'd seriously consider jamming cell phones within the limits of my business.

Perhaps in time, a kind of rational cell phone etiquette may develop. I don't see it so far: not that many know the meaning of the word "etiquette."


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Monday, October 10, 2005

Mes Enfants, We're Being Played!

I don't know if it's others playing our nearly empty-headed politico-parasites or it it's them playing We the People. I suspect it's some of both. I don't mean to imply that the playing is just starting now; it's been going on for a long time. I merely want to draw attention to two current scams, to illustrate by example how it works.

The first possibility is that the US government is being played by foreign actors. The state of fear being what it is, our elected victicrats seem to react to every rumor of another attack by the islamic or communist subhumans (or am I being redundant?). They seem to go into full panic mode and react in just the way the subhumans would like us to--in their fondest dreams: the government finds yet another way to clamp down upon freedom in the United States.

Recent weeks, we've been told that our spooks have uncovered rumors (none dare call it intelligence) that the Osama Bin Llama gang is going to attack New York City's subways soon.

What do the New York MTA trained apes do?

A partial list of what they do not do, that might make some sense is:
Repeal their local laws against self defense.
Recommend training in self defense, use of weapons and citizen's arrest.
Invent ways of mitigating explosive blasts and minimizing damage.
Implement alternatives to subway commuting.

What do they do instead?

What empty-headed authoritarians always do, including:
Station police and military men everywhere, with instructions to search everyone, or certain ones, in a manner inconsistent as possible with the facts of reality.
Make sure everyone is told that their use of public transit is a privilege, not a right.
Arrest anyone who mentions or jokes about any sort of "terrorist" weapon or attack and detain him until he's old.
Set up a foolproof ID that identifies everyone absolutely, except illegal aliens, whose ID starts the day they get the ID.
Develop electronic dossiers on all American travelers (excluding illegal aliens).

Also developing: The bird flu.

You know, we used to have flu epidemics, about once a year. When I was a mite younger, we just pretty much ignored flues unless we got sick, then we took a couple of days off from school and slept a lot. Later, we got vaccinations for it, which may or may not actually help. I got my first flu shot in the Navy. It was followed by the worst case of flu I ever had. I was dog-sick for a week.

I've never had a flu shot since. I refuse 'em. Most years, I don't get sick. The last time I got the flu was five or six years ago. When I have gotten it, I've been pretty uncomfortable for 36 to 48 hours, then it's over. Every five or six years, I can live with that.

Every year the State Science Institute, I mean the Centers for Disease Control (Randian slip, sorry) predicts dire events with the beginning of the "flu season." It even has a season, now. The "season" comes with dire predictions of high body counts among the very young and the very old. Everyone is admonished to go in and get a flu shot. The deaths happen in far smaller numbers than we were warned--whether because of the vaccine or because of the con, I'm never sure. I didn't get the shot and I didn't get sick.

Leads me to wonder why they so dearly want everyone to get the shot. What's in that shot, anyway?

But, I've digressed.

This year's con appears to be the Bird Flu. They openly admit that they don't have enough doses for everyone (there weren't enough doses last year, either. Somehow, we survived). This year, they're trying something new. They're floating trial balloons for military-enforced quarantines.

If the quarantine thing works, it'll establish that the federal government can bottle up any locality in the country, totally limiting movement in and out of the area, based on a trumped up reason ordered up by the President from his pet quacks at CDC.

I wonder if the birds will pay attention to the quarantine.


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Friday, October 07, 2005

State of Fear

Mr Crichton didn't address what we're being told is "islamic terrorism" in his book. His terrorists were of the home-grown, greener sort, but the "terrorism" we're continually being warned of seems to fall under the same umbrella.

Aside: Why is it that our Irish cousins aren't really, really angry about the enviro-liars co-opting their color to advance their nefarious causes? Bullshit is brown, not green.

While we're being told day after day that the islamic funny-mentalists are attacking our very way of life (which I tend to believe, by the way), both of our very own fascist political parties are doing their very best to move our way of life toward that of the most restrictive of the islamic dictatorships. I've actually found myself wondering where I can buy a man-burqa and what colors do they come in? I draw the line at pink.

What with the lengthening list of near-terrorist acts, foiled at the last moment by our ever-vigilant spooks (who seem to have been able to do nothing right prior to 9/11/01), we should be utterly grateful that our safety is in such careful hands. What a timely maturation, that transformed our federal law enforcement agencies from oafish jack-booted gestapo-thugs to benevolent protectors of mom, flag and apple pie virtually overnight.

I feel safe, which is ever so different from actually being safe.

It's a wonder how the tv reporters are always able to find any number of people at the airports and train stations who, in the shadow of camo-clad soldiers with M16's, will say with a giggle, "I'm good with it. It makes me feel safe." Never do they make the connection that these stalwarts were, just last year, ditching English class and shotgunning Dad's beer. They don't trust them with ammo for the M16's.

So, what's happening is that in order to safeguard American Freedom, government is turning the country into a police state.

But, we feel safe.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Thursday, October 06, 2005

According to the LA Times.....

A leftist yellow rag I never read, something shameful is happening in the nation's prisons. Apparently it's happening in both federal and all of the state prisons, though there seems less a problem in the prisons of the eastern states.

Lifers are dying in large numbers in prison. Yes, prisoners serving life terms die while incarcerated.

I'm shocked, shocked, I tell you.


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Monday, October 03, 2005

Send Us Your Poor.....

As far as I am concerned, while the rest of the world wallows under despotism and dictatorship, and the United States still enjoys just a wee bit more freedom then the next most free country. If individuals from any of those relatively unfree states decide that it's in their interest to look for opportunities in the United States, I welcome them. I don't see where any "naturalization" is needed, nor any tallying, categorizing nor quotas. Bring 'em on. America can use more workers, entrepreneurs, inventors and assorted thinkers. We really need people that can teach.

What we don't need are more welfare cases. America is loaded with socialist, utterly irrational judges who think, for whatever twisted reason (and I use the word reason very loosely here), that public money should not only go to nonproductive Americans, but to nonproductive foreigners!

The big howl by taxpayers right now is about "illegal aliens" entering the US and using local government schools, using local hospital and medical facilities which are required to provide services to anyone regardless of ability to pay, and many other government services that can ber accessed by anyone for no charge. Most of these taxpayers think the solution is to "seal the borders" and stop these foreigners from entering the country.

This is an impossible task. If there's anything the United States have, it's borders.

Many of those who hold the above views will also say, many truthfully, that they have nothing against those "illegals" who come here to work, if they're not a burden on government's largess. Realizing that many of these people have very little to look forward to in their home countries, how can we blame them? We thrive on immigrants! We're all immigrants, or descended from immigrants.

What if the Indians along the eastern seaboard had had an INS in the 17th Century?

The problem isn't the immigrants, legal or illegal (aside: if INS was doing a decent job, there'd be more legal immigrants and fewer illegal ones), the problem is the Welfare State. If these immigrants knew that by coming into the United States, they must become productive, a day's work for a day's pay, and build a life here. Almost all of them come here with the idea of doing just that.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

FEMA, Get Thee Hence....

Nowhere in the US Constitution is it authorized that a federal agency be created to offer assistance to victims of a natural disaster such as Hurricanes Katrina Vanden Heuvel and Lovely Rita. Nor for the Northridge Earthquake of 1994 nor any very heavy snowstorm.

What happens, as happens with all federal help agencies, is that they take the money, which comes to them by way of our taxes, skim off 40 to 60% to pay the civil servants, appointees, various hacks and, of course, the politicians themselves, and waste any remainder on porky-type projects. FEMA is exactly the kind of agency into which politicians place their brothers-in-law, nephews and blackmailers to give them a hefty salary and shut them up.

We, those of us who fall into the category *productive* lose at least half of our productivity to our bloated, out-of-control, thieving government. FEMA is only a small one of literally hundreds of money pits that suck up this production and waste it by putting it in the pockets of the non-productive.

Were it not for FEMA, and all these other unConstitutional federal agencies--and, yes, even many of the Constitutional ones, imagine what it'd be like to actually be able to spend, save or invest every bit of that paycheck. Cool!

But, back to disasters. In a real-world, in the absence of confiscatory taxation and the occasional pittance one gets returned on those rare occasions, you'd be getting $1000 a week to use as you wish, unlike in this world of theft, in which you get $1000 minus federal withholding, SS payroll tax, state income tax, state sales tax, gas tax, property tax, auto, aircraft and rv fees and licenses, business fees and licenses and last and best, sin taxes. As it is now, maybe you'll be able to use as much as $500 of it for yourself and your family.

That's a pretty good disaster in itself.

What if there's a real disaster, and no FEMA?

Well, at the risk of talking down to most of you, here goes.

One thing many of us might consider is living in a part of the country not prone to floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, wildfires, landslides, democrats and republicans. If you, like me, decide to live in certain areas in spite of one or more of these dangers, insurance is a really good idea. Ah, but if insurance against republicans and democrats were only available!

If the worst happens, and you lose your house and its contents to one of these, you may lose your baby pictures and your best copy of Atlas Shrugged, but at least there'll be a payout to help you get a new start (with FEMA, that's not nearly as certain!) . And, in the absence of the above-mentioned confiscatory taxation, it'd be far more likely you'd be able to afford good insurance.

Also, observe that during the recent tribulations, affected victims sit on their flood-soaked front stoops and whine to media reporters about how nobody helped them. The mayor was busy chasing news cameras to whimper into, the governor was making sure no federal empty suit took over her national guard. FEMA set up road blocks to make sure nobody provided help before they could. At least, with your insurance broker, you're just dealing with one guy, and you get to pick the guy.

You have the relative certainty of knowing that when that emergency happens, you're on your own and that you, on your own, having planned for as many contingencies as possible, have given yourself the best chance possible of survival. Compare that with sitting on the stoop and hoping FEMA will come along and help!

I'd far rather depend on myself than depend on the likes of Michael Brown or Michael Chertoff to get their heads out of their butts.


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Monday, September 26, 2005

It Would Be Chaos....

When I was a young lad, in the Frozen North, there were many an hour when there wasn't much to do.....but read. There were times when I'd think up some reason to leave the (boring) classroom to go to the library and read something interesting. There were the Saturday afternoons after Howdy Doody was over, and it was too cold or there were no friends around.

Aside from Robert Heinlein's teen science fiction stories and Hot Rod magazines, my favorites were the popular tech magazines of the day. I'd gobble up Mechanix Illustrated, Popular Mechanics and Popular Science in the first days after they appeared, then go back into the archives and find old ones I hadn't already read.

One story, or rather one theme from which a number of stories emerged, was about the coming of personalized flying cars, for use by the public for the same everyday purposes for which we now use ground cars. Last May, I wrote about this briefly here.

These pop tech magazines carried stories of inventors who were experimenting with personal aircraft which could be re rigged to drive on the streets. These "aircars" were very primitive and not easily converted from air- to surface-usefulness, but they were a start. Continued experimentation would certainly have brought improvements in these vehicles. We have to recall from history that early automobiles weren't very easily used, either.

Further experimentation was not to be--at least not on a continuous basis. There are a few research groups working on the project, but bringing aircars to the general use of the public is still a long way off.

Seems the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), predecessor to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), decided that we dopey Americans aren't capable of handling flight, most of us. They halted most research into aircars on the basis that every aircar driver would have to be licensed as a private pilot--a lengthy and pricey process.

I brought all this up in a conversation with a couple of younger, tech-savvy denizens of my local coffee shop yesterday. "It would be chaos," one of them said. "When they start crashing into each other like they do on the streets, then falling down onto people's homes....hey! I'm enrolling in law school tomorrow!"

I'm a little surprised that a couple of my younger friends, each owning more hi-tech than I care to afford, would take such a skeptical view of technology that must happen if our government-stalled technological progress is to move ahead. In truth, I'm pretty sure that my two young friends will buy aircars as soon as they can afford them (after me).

The error that government keeps making that gives them an excuse to continue to squelch aircar technology (beyond the fact that government doesn't want us to have that much freedom!) is to think about safety the same way we do regarding automobiles: how to minimize the effects of a collision. Problem: at 5000 feet, it's really hard to minimize these kinds of collisions, and what they do to our bodies and those of the people on the ground. What we have to do is think like aircraft people. To them, almost all the effort goes into avoiding the collision in the first place.

What with all the radars, sonars, proximity alarms and air traffic control (which would be far better and safer if the lunkheads at FAA would get the *your favorite obscene epithet here* out of the way.

The fact that we're not all using aircars routinely now; fifty years after the earliest real experiments of which I'm aware, tells me that there's a problem with this once-free country. The problem is the government: but not for government regulation, I'm convinced that those early inventors and the like minds that would've followed them would've had us in very safe and practical aircars well before this year 2005.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Saturday, September 24, 2005

This Racist Universe

I heard it! Proof positive! The Universe is biased against the poor of New Orleans (which means, Black People, since the news has been telling us that all White People of New Orleans are rich, and all Black People there are poor).

On Fox News, of all places, the on-location reporter showed us that the levee re-breachings as a result of the nearby Hurricane Lovely Rita, bypassed all the rich (White) neighborhoods and flooded only the poor (Black) neighborhoods. Whoodah thunk?

The direct quote (as near as I can remember it) of Fox's Shepard Smith is: the flooding damaged "predominantly poor neighborhoods."

Since there are many White neighborhoods very near the levees, this can only be the work of a malevolent Universe. Well, wait!

I did hear that the the NAACP had a big national meeting two or three days ago. Might they, collectively, in the name of getting GWB to grant even more largess to the New Orleans area, have willed the storm to warp toward Louisiana? If so, it looks like the democrat loonie fringe is more powerful than we thought.

At any rate, Shepard Smith is on top of it all, and reporting it as he sees it. We can thank Rupert Murdock for a wonderful job by one and all!


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Death of Property Rights in America (Part II)

Part I is here--referring to the utter perversion of the already immoral laws allowing eminent domain seizures. Here, we have eminent domain seizures of ideas! I was kind of aware of this phenomenon, the military being what it is, but I always thought the inventor at least got paid! I found the story in Wired News, by means of a blog entry by Dale Amon at Samizdata.

When Philip French invented the Crater Coupler, a watertight coupler that uses no nut threads or bolted flanges, little did he and his partners suspect that it'd be used by the feds to tap into undersea fiberoptic cables for clandestine monitoring. Mr French's Coupler makes this underwater wiretap much simpler.

The problem: when the government's contractor paid Mr French, et al no royalties at all and they sued, the feds bottled the whole thing up under the veil of National Security, allowing nothing to be released for use in court. French, et al got zip. Actually, Mr French did settle for $30k, a tiny fraction of what the Coupler is worth.

The feds get another way to monitor our communications without our knowledge or consent, and the principle of our right to property gets another big hit.


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California