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

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Well Done, Scott!

Scott Bieser, fellow gun rights advocate and up-and-coming libertarian cartoonist (artist for the graphic novel version of L Neil Smith's novel The Probability Broach <Big Head Press, 2004>), has penned a wonderful response to the jack-booted thugs who went house-to-house in New Orleans during the aftermath of Hurricane Katina Vanden Heuvel, ransacking homes and confiscating self-defense weapons of law-abiding residents in the New Orleans area. This, at a time when there is rampant looting, rape, murder and other forms of criminality in the area. If there were ever a time when New Orleans residents need the ability to defend themselves, this is it.

The cartoon is reproduced here with Scott's permission.

The National Rifle Association, Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership and Gun Owners of America (and many others, I hope), are formulating legal responses to this atrocity. May the perpetrators of this evil be prosecuted to , and beyond the fullest extent of current law. A firing squad is too good for them!

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Pledge of Servitude

Well, the old "Pledge of Allegiance" is back once again. The recently added phrase "under god" is again under fire by alleged atheists and a sympathetic federal court.

I wrote about the pledge the last time it came up, and still hold the same opinion on the matter.

The Stars and Stripes used to be a symbol of all that America is, but thanks to government school civics classes and actions of government on all fronts has led most people to the opinion that the flag is a symbol of the government. Thus, when we "pledge allegiance to the flag," most of us are pledging allegiance to the government. Note the way that many people react to the President as if he were royalty. Note how, during the recent troubles in the Gulf area, many people look to the President as a savior, and are extreme in their anger as they perceive that he's failed them.

Only from libertarians and a few conservatives do we even hear the suggestion that they might actually lift a finger to help themselves and help each other. From the left we hear, "Where was the federal government?" and "Bush doesn't care about black people."

So we send the kids to government schools where they recite the "Pledge of Allegiance" each day, to reinforce that the federal government is and always will be critical to their very existence.

That's what I mean by the Pledge of Servitude.

I don't care at all about the "under god" phrase. I've never added the "under god" phrase when I used to actually recite the pledge, but now, I won't recite it at all. It's subversive and unAmerican. Americans aren't subservient.

Americans are individualists.

I don't care about "under god." Any parent worth his stuff will keep his kids out of government schools (government schools are child abuse) and teach them that government is the servant, not the master. This servant has been doing such a poor job at it's assigned (by the Constitution) tasks that it deserves to be treated with nothing but contempt.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Sunday, September 11, 2005

What's Really Happening in New Orleans?

I've already written some about Huricane Katrina Vanden Heuvel and the awful struggles of those who live and work in the areas damaged and destroyed by the storm. Most of what I've written was based on knowledge and news reporting of the time and was admittedly far from complete. The problem is, as we see the tale unfold from day to day, it seems to be less a natural disaster and more a government-made one.

Where do we start? With the French? I think the statutes of limitation are long past. The Louisiana Purchase was an "as is" deal.

Then to now was mainly a momentum thing. New Orleans was there, was a nice city, an "easy" city in which to live.

There was the occasional storm, hurricanes were a recognized danger, but New Orleans pulled through and became bigger and better. The Big Easy was so easy that local government was, in Southern style, corrupt as Mexico. During the Kkklinton administration, lots of money was stolen from all Americans and given to Louisiana for a full reinforcement of the New Orleans levee system, but the money was spent on other things: pundits claim that money was spent on a gambling casino, was spent to facilitate the movement of more river barges in and out of the port while there were actually fewer barges. I'm sure several New Orleans city and Louisiana state officials have enhanced their personal retirement accounts as well, truth be discovered.

Hurricane Katrina Vanden Heuvel brought local government out and fileted it, exposing its rotten guts for all to see.

Mayor Nagin apparently didn't read his own city's disaster plan, didn't take the weather reports seriously, and instead of dealing with the situation in a timely manner, he apparently decided to hide under his desk. When he should've been calling up bus drivers, he was calling tv networks to arrange face time.

The feds can't really invade a state until invited by the Governor. That's sort of like Mina, in "Dracula," had to invite the Count into her room in order that he could bite her neck. Governor Kathleen Blanco was so busy protecting her fiefdom that that she would not make the state Guard available to the President until everyone in New Orleans was dead. My guess: Her last name makes reference to her intelligence quotient.

Once the city was finally opened up to the feds, then the real violations began. While the poor people still remaining in the city are wading around in ultra contaminated water and being robbed and raped by gangs with stolen guns, the feds are systematically rendering the victims unable to defend themselves by means of wholesale violations of Amendments the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 9th and 10th.

Were there ever a high-magnitude disaster in a Western state (other than California, Oregon or Washington) and the feds pull crap like this, it just might turn into a civil war.


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Nazism Rears Its Ugly Head in New Orleans

Armed thugs are going house to house in the New Orleans area--looking for victims to help? No! They're going through relatively undamaged neighborhoods looking for and confiscating firearms, including the legally owned weapons of responsible, productive individuals as described here.

As if to maximize the already overwhelming victimization of the hapless citizens of the area, evil jack-booted thugs are making sure that non-criminals in the area are unable to protect themselves against the looter gangs who have emptied out all the gun and sporting goods stores of their stock of weapons and ammunition.

Much of the actions of the several levels of government before, during and after Hurricane Katrina Vanden Heuvel seems to be aimed at maximizing casualties.

  • Not allowing private individuals and charitable groups to go into the ravaged areas to offer help and effect rescues.

  • Failing to utilize the cities school and transit buses to help the evacuation in the hours prior to the arrival of the storm.

  • Failing to declare a state of emergency until after the situation was far beyond unmanageable.

  • Not allowing the Red Cross, standing by with food, water, clothing, hygeine kits and medical supplies to go to the sports buildings, where people were crowded together in filthy, danerous, wretched conditions and many were dying.

Prior to the arrival of the military (delayed by the inaction of the governor) most rescues were effected by individual police officers and private individuals and groups acting independently of the city and state hierarchy.

While the military is continuing with its search and rescue operation, local authorities are reverting to police state tactics to forcibly move those who wish to stay in their homes (even those outside the flooded areas), render them unable to defend themselves and to keep those who had evacuated from returning to their homes and businesses.

As can be easily seen, government is acting to exacerbate the effects of the tragedy.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Where Did My Charitable Spirit Go?

Seems like every few weeks, there's another disaster, following which come pleas for donations to aid the victims.

I was in a disaster once. Mine was less overwhelming than many others--although not to those who died. I lost a lot, but not everything. FEMA helped some, though most of the help came from our own insurance. Altogethe, it covered maybe half of our loss.

Presumably, there were calls for charitable giving, though I was too busy to be aware of it. None of that charity came my way, though I didn't ask. We recovered, eventually.

My dad told me, years ago, that when he was a young man just getting started on his railroad career, that his taxes were about 10% of his gross earnings. Local, state and federal. I don't think he actually paid income tax those first years.

Thirty years ago, I earned around $6.50 an hour. I did pay state and federal income taxes, and all the normal stuff, BUTT! I was a single dad at the time. I had a nice apartment. I had a used pickup and a new motorcycle. I sent Jim to a private school (even then, I thought that government schools were bad business) and I often took time off from work to ride up and down the state to see the sights. We ate at restaurants. We went to LA often for libertarian group outings and went to an occasional movie or rock concert.

I make more than four times that now. I'm doing ok, but there's little extra. I have to think about going out to the better restaurants, running up to LA for the evening doesn't happen any more--traffic, the cost of gas and the cost of the entertainment are the main issues. No way could I afford private school tuition for a youngster. My quality of life is better, but not four times better.

The cost of the several layers of government is about half of my production. That's bogus! Most of that money is wasted, and/or goes into the pockets of politicians and their cronies. The roads and parks, etc are--well, to only say poorly maintained would be a major failure in perception. The schools' best areas of competence are in subverting parents' value systems and distorting America's founding principles--that is, substituting a state-subserviant morality for individualism. I could go on and probably will at some point.

Back to the original point, my charitable spirit is lost somewhere in that 40%. I figure that if the several layers of government really need that much of my productivity, they can take care of the disaster victims, the poor, the lazy and all the unfortunates.

Except that they aren't doing that, either!

They take half of our prodictivity to "care" for the unfortunate victims and there are more of them now than ever before!

Well, that's where my charitable spirit went.


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Sweet Charity

There's been a lot of criticism of FEMA and the Bush Administration for the way the rescue and relief efforts in the Gulf Coast were very slow to start and more poorly organized that outside observers might imagine. Some of this criticism is justified, but Hurricane Katrina Vanden Heuvel , like its namesake, was an epic disaster.

The degree of devastation was unimagineable. The outcome could hardly have been expected--except that it was. Both FEMA and the US Army Corps of Engineers predicted disaster in New Orleans in the event of a high-category hurricane.

After the Kkklinton administration called everything more devastating than an unusually heavy snowfall a disaster worthy of FEMA aid, GW Bush trimmed FEMA's budget and placed it under the evil and fascistic Homeland Security Dept. FEMA attention was directed more toward the "War on Terror" than toward natural disasters.

New Orleans Mayor Nagin spent more time whining about why the feds were so slow to arrive than actually using the city's own resources to provide search & rescue and to try and restore order.

Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco showed her utter inability to handle a natural disaster by failing to act quickly to mobilize the state's National Guard.

In the midst of all this bureaucratic fumbling, one has to ask if one-size-fits-all government management of disaster mitigation and relief is really a good idea at all. Thanks to the Wine Commonsewer, who reminds me of some of the actions taken during the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, and to Samizdata, who provided me with a link chain which led me to this FEE article about the disaster relief that was implemented to recover from the 1871 Chicago Fire.

It's a pretty well-known fact that the federal government has insinuated its way into so many areas of endeavor that historically (in the US) had been private, and which can be demonstrated to be better executed in private hands, that it is unable to do anything very well.

The road, street and highway system of the United States, once unequalled by any system of roads on earth, perhaps excepting Germany's Autobahn, is crumbling from lack of maintenance. The public utilities in many cities are similarly failing. Police departments are hamstrung by mindless edicts stemming from political correctness, while the citizenry is admonished by law against defending themselves against all manner of mass murderers, child molesters and jaywalkers.

In the wake of an attack by the subhuman al queda pigs, the Bush administration put together the "War on Terror," in which he conducts yet another undeclared war on Afghanistan and Iraq, tries to fight it without "actually hurting anyone." In Afghanistan, we were dropping food to the enemy among with bombs (!?). When we had Osama bin Lama cornered, we stood down for a religious holiday of some sort to let him make his way to Pakistan.

In Iraq, when the savages were shooting from mosques, we slinked away like cowards, lest we harm a single stone on their precious witch doctors' hangouts. We had the whole of the worst pack of savages bottled up in Fallujah, and we let them go!!! We certainly wouldn't want to hurt any of the sub-neanderthal cretins!

To reiterate, government has slimed its way into so many areas of endeavor that, not only has it turned each of them, in turn, into bastions of incompetence, but it can no longer even perform its Constitutional functions. In few words, it's spread far too thin. Top down central management cannot deal with such a monster.

We are all suffering (at the very least, we're losing half of our productivity to the monster) to a larger or lesser degree as a result of the behemoth government the non-productive among us have created.


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Mind Pollution

On the 31st of August, I was directed to the Huffington Post blogsite by Philip Chaston on the Samizdata blogsite. He cited a post by the crackling-voiced Robert F Kennedy, undoubtedly written between the driving lessons he's receiving from his uncle.

The name of the post is "For They That Sow the Wind Shall Reap the Whirlwind." It basically blames GW Bush and H Barbour, et al for Hurricane Katrina Vanden Heuvel because of their failure to sign the Kyoto Treaty. It was among the first of several blog articles by noted and unnoted socialists blaming GW Bush for the hurricane.

I detest the administration of GW Bush for a host of reasons, some described in other parts of this collection, but I'm even more opposed to the Luddites that comprise the Environmental Fascist Society. It's amply demonstrated that these inherited-money idle rich are threatened by the fact that, in American society, even the middle class can enjoy some of the wonderful pleasures that they feel are theirs alone, by divine right. It truly angers them to see that a working professional, or even the occasional tradesman, can scrape together the money to occasionally dine at a top restaurant or enjoy an ocean cruise.

These are their pastimes, not ours!

Environmental laws and work regulations, high taxes and legal restrictions all work to keep the inherited-wealth "clique" on top and to make it harder for the rest of us to build any serious wealth. By the way, both GW Bush and RFKennedy are members of the "clique."

So, I wrote a quick comment in response to Bobby Jr's blathering. It is as follows:

There is no global warming.

If there is global warming, man had nothing to do with it.

If there is global warming, man can do nothing about it. It is part of normal cyclic climate change.

Read "State of Fear," by Michael Crichton.

My studies can beat up your studies.

Not exactly worthy of any literary awards, but it expresses more good sense than any little bit of Bobby Jr's article. The comment was not added to the long list of comments to the article. I can only assume that it was threatening to them.

I spent a few minutes perusing more of the scatterbrained Ms Huffington's new blogsite. I did this at great sacrifice to my evening leisure time, and so that you, my friends, shall not have to endure the continual nonsense contained therein.

Go there if you must, but know that there is nothing there but evil. My sincere advice: stay away! There be rotted brains there in large numbers! Beware! Beware!

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California