Friday, October 31, 2008

Putting Priorities In Order

Never accustomed to making suggestions as to how local governments prioritize the spending of the money they steal from productive individuals, I tiptoe in with a degree of discomfort. My normal train of thought goes toward the notion that government officials have no bloody idea what they're doing, and they simply attempt to appease the loudest whiners, and to increase their personal power.

After many decades of at-will tax increases and criminal mismanagement by elected and appointed officials, followed by some meager but partially effective resistance measures by a majority of the productive electorate, many local officials are finding it increasingly difficult to leach off a productive class that's increasingly voting with its feet, and leaving high-tax cities.

Now, according to many news stories like this one in the Wall Street Journal, cities are facing bankruptcy largely because of a sliding economy caused by government mismanagement, and are trying to cut budgets. Sadly, and stupidly, as one might expect of those who have no idea what they're doing, they are cutting the budgets of the least expendable agencies first.

Rather than trimming non essentials and areas in which city governments have no business or expertise (but represent numerous feel-good schemes and appease noisy special interests) these officials are looking to cut the budget for law enforcement.

They aren't dropping their arts programs or selling off excess real estate. They aren't considering privatizing their parks and libraries. They won't consider selling the schools to private operators or privatizing the fire departments.

Public safety, that is, police departments are taking the hit. Public safety is unarguably the most important reason for the existence of local government. And that's the first place to cut, according to the bloated city hall officialdom!

Done right, that ain't all bad. They could disband the costly and largely unnecessary SWAT teams. They could lose the vice, anti drug and anti gang teams and put their police back in blue uniforms and give them neighborhood beats. They could have their detectives actually investigate and solve real crimes. They could drop the quasi military posing and scrap the black body armor and ski masks, and act like local citizens doing a job, as is closer to reality.

And, most important, they could trust the people of the town to arm themselves for purposes of self defense.

That would save a lot of money. My overview estimate is that any city can live on around 10% of current levels just by streamlining law enforcement and the courts, dropping non-essential spending boondoggles and privatizing everything that can be privatized.


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

An Argument For Gun Control: An Editorial Rebuttal

In all the blog entries in which I've championed the individual's Right to Keep and Bear Arms, I've never allowed the other side to be heard. I've finally relented to allow a reasoned rebuttal to my arguments.

Please weigh the arguments carefully, as I wouldn't want anyone to say I never gave the other side a chance.

Tip of the battered gray fedora to Paul Hsieh at Noodle Food.

....From my cold, dead hands!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Lesson In Obamanomics

Doug Powers, writing in World Net Daily, explains redistribution of wealth from Joe the Plumber's point of view. As for me, I'll just sit back and let you enjoy the column.

Tip of the battered gray fedora to Kent C for tipping me off and yet again for the photo.


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Self Defense -- As It Might Be And Ought To Be

The following is a video which was the introductory minute for an episode of the ABC tv series Boston Legal. It exemplifies, in a humorous way, how an honest, self reliant man would deal with a criminal in a free society.

Denny Crane- Guns @ Yahoo! Video

Seems a mite cold, until one realizes that when a man turns to crime, he is metaphysically committing suicide (by denying the right to life, he denies his right to his own life), and the hand that pulls the trigger is his own.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Friday, October 17, 2008

Want Universal Health Care? It'll Be Universally Bad!

Just about every wants-something-for-nothing airhead in the country, including most elected officeholders who know better, advocate some form of government paid health care. Costs are so high, they say, and very few can pay for the care they sooner or later will need.

What they are really saying is, "I want my medical bills sent to you."

In fact, if government was completely kept away from medicine, in compliance with the US Constitution, medical costs would be a small fraction of what they are today. Although, even if this were the case, the airheads would still want you to pay their medical bills.

MK, an Australian blogger, writes Down Under On The Right Side, a conservative blog from the Aussie perspective. He also posts on The Midnight Sun and A Western Heart. Below, he links a couple of stories from Aussie news sources on the subject of socialized medicine in Australia. They are well worth a read.

It might give an indication of our future, should the airheads prevail.

SMH - The Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney is to close its women’s health ward in a move to cut costs. RPA executives on Thursday told doctors the 20-bed ward would close on November 1, while the children’s ward was also at risk of being shut, Fairfax reported on Friday. The move could see patients recovering from gynaecological surgery in mixed-sex rooms, while children who need emergency admissions could be forced to go to Randwick or Westmead if that ward is closed down. The move is designed to cut $8 million from the hospital’s budget, after then treasurer Michael Costa revealed a $300 million blow-out in health spending last month.

Daily Telegraph - A NURSE had to borrow bandages from a veterinary clinic and a doctor forked out $1000 from his own pocket for urgent medical supplies because companies have refused to supply Dubbo Base Hospital because of unpaid bills. Surgeons at the hospital have had to use gloves which are the wrong size, while patients needing X-rays were turned away because Kodak had refused to supply vital products. The hospital has run out of handwashing liquid and garbage bags in recent months.

…… “In the past, it’s been unpaid food bills, unpaid transport bills, now it’s effecting patient safety and that’s of extraordinary concern.” …… Dubbo MP Dawn Fardell said the Greater Western Area Health Service - which covers 50 per cent of the state - owed $66 million. …… Steve Miller, who runs Country Fruit Distributors, was owed $20,000 but most of it had been paid by early this week. “The Government expects us to pay our taxes on time and yet they don’t pay their bills on time,” he said.

Obama will tell you it’s be wonderful, healthcare for all, social justice and what not, but ultimately, these few examples of many are what you’ll end up with. Not only will your taxes have to be paid on time, they’ll have to keep going up and up to keep up with the rising demands of the public who insist that it’s all free. You already have socialized medicine in your emergency rooms and it’s a roaring success isn’t it. Imagine what it’ll be like when it’s full on socialized medicine, and you’ll get just that in Obama.

The text printed in red is MK's commentary.

This could happen to you!

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Whatever Works

An eight-year-old Little League ball player hits a single. The next batter hits a sharp ground ball that's bobbled by the shortstop, who then picks the ball up and tosses it to the second baseman. The baseman, not yet at second base, swooped his glove, containing the ball, toward the base runner. The base runner reached second base. The umpire signs "Safe!"

The second base runner signals "time" and walks over to the umpire. "Sir, his body was between you and me, but I felt his glove brush my shoulder. I'm out."

An unbelievable story, right? It could never happen?

I've come to the conclusion that this is where our current "getting away with it" attitude starts. Sports coaches teaching youngsters to take an erroneous call in their favor. Teaching them to seize advantage by breaking rules, and trying to hide it from the referee.

In the children's prisons, it becomes ok to sneak a look at the test paper of another, if it can be done unobserved. It no longer is a problem that one's peers are aware of his ethical shortcomings, it's only a problem if he gets caught. Even then, his peers will likely respond with "Dawg! Good try!"

After a number of years and a number of confirmations of this behavior pass, our ethically challenged lad graduates law school and becomes an attorney. The firm at which he's employed--as do most law firms today--advocates and requires him to win the case regardless of truth and regardless of the harm caused to the innocent.

Then come years of success winning huge punitive sums for his clients, many of whom would have no complaint had they exercised diligence to protect themselves in advance, against deep pocket plaintiffs who were merely attempting to provide a service, and who had been problem-free for decades. He decides to go into politics.

After building a warchest and setting up a campaign staff, our anti-hero wins the election by digging up irrelevant dirt on his opponent. He has used, walked over and cast aside friends whose usefulness is at an end, or who become liabilities.

It doesn't matter, his plan for his people is unquestionably good. Should anyone actually try to question it, they are evil and enemies of the people. They are to be discredited, and jailed, if possible.

Meanwhile, the country sinks into a war of each man's hand in the pocket of another and productivity being punished at every turn.

This is the path destined for those who advocate the maxim, "The end justifies the means."

Unless a more livable philosophy can achieve pre-eminence, the world will slide, on the skids of altruism, back into a new Dark Age.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California
The New Thugees

Sunday afternoon, as Debbie and I were exiting the Ventura Fairgrounds after the Highland Games, we saw a table set up in the walkway toward the parking lot. A sign saying, "Register to Vote. Democrat." There were two young men standing by, cheap ball points in hand, waiting to help their victims register.


In the Stalag, it's required that anyone collecting voter registrations not discriminate as to the party choice of the registrant. I participated in a registration drive once, to get the Libertarian Party on the ballot, while working on John Hospers' campaign. At the time, we were pointedly admonished that we must register people in whatever party they wished, and not specifically advocate for our party. That proved not to be much of a problem for me, since I usually registered folks at libertarian functions.

Thus, to my knowledge, what the gentlemen at this table was doing is illegal.

I said to Debbie as we passed, "Must be some of those ACORN crooks." in a loud voice as I pointed in their direction. "If you register in any other party, they'll trash the form instead of turning it in."

The guys at the table said nothing, but stared in my direction as we passed, not smiling.

It's already pretty much a foregone conclusion that B Hussein will carry the Stalag, so those two guys won't matter much. You see far more Obama bumper stickers in the Stalag than McCain stickers, but that's probably caused by the fact that Democrats will key your car or break your windshield if it has a McCain sticker.

Here comes the new boss, same as the old boss.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Taking The Weekend Off

Debbie and I will be driving off to the scenic seaside town of Ventura, Stalag California for the weekend to attend and participate in the Seaside Highland Games.

In spite of all the rollicking fun in the news this month, there won't be any more reportage here until next week. We have to have one more wild fling before have to settle down and start looking for food under rocks and behind the bark of trees.

Debbie and I will be part of the Scottish Country Dance demo group and we'll be watching all the Scottish heavy games and the clan duel reenactments. There'll also be pipe bands and a place for kids to get their faces painted.

Then, we'll be back to see if el Pueblo de Los Angeles still has electricity and law and order. Oh, wait! The law and order thing.....that time is past.

Keep your powder dry.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Friday, October 03, 2008

We Have To Do Something.....Anything....Even If It's Wrong!

Listening to the pundits on radio and tv, these past few day's, both before and after the already infamous vote to (further) socialize America's financial system, a number of things became painfully clear.

First and foremost, the overwhelming image scampering out of Washington DC is of "the blind leading the blind." The vast majority of those elected into national office, including the President, have no bloody idea what they're doing.

The conspiracy theorists among us would say that they're mere puppets, their strings being pulled by shadowy characters in ancient European castles or in hyper-exclusive upstate New York and New England country clubs. I have no way of knowing whether this is true, but the level of economic incompetence leads me to prefer the notion that they're just stupid.

It started with talking points: "It's not a bailout of Wall Street, it's a rescue of Main Street." This sentence, word for word, has been repeated by virtually every scatterbrained congressman and Senator; every media reporter and talking head for several days now. After the House rejected the measure the other day, the chorus that something must be done, NOW! became so intense that it could be heard with the radio and tv off.

The utterly irrelevant George Bush appeared on the air in a state of panic that far surpassed his stridency when trying to justify his screeching, skidding left turn into Iraq in the middle of his supposed search for the evil Osama bin Llama.

The Senate passed the bill, led by the very individuals who were most instrumental in the causing of the problem, and those who have embarrassing videos locked in the safety deposit boxes of other Senators.

The Siren song of doing something before the election--just to say something was done--proved to be too strong for many of the Congressfools who voted "nay" the first time, their fear of being turned out of office exceeding their desire to do something effective.

Now that the bill is signed (hand of Satan himself holding the pen), everyone starts the new chorus, saying that this bailout will not solve the problem, but will give Washington the financial world some breathing room until reform can be put together.

Say, WHAT?!

Shades of Atlas Shrugged!

.....And we all know that once the election is past, the whole thing will be forgotten and Senators Frank, Dodd, Schumer and all their cronies will still be receiving big campaign arm twistings which will somehow cleverly trickle into their personal bank accounts, and we'll have another big, earth-threatening crisis in a few years.

Nothing that will actually reflect sound economic policy will be considered.

I declare, I wonder where all this cynicism comes from!!


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Current Attempted Ripoff Is Nothing New

The current attempt at "The Big Ripoff" of all productive Americans isn't without precedent. We've seen three or four of them in recent years, starting with the Chrysler Motors bailout of 1979.

Here's a particularly timely poem that fits today's situation every bit as well as it did when it was written, in 1936.

The Profits and Loss
By Berton Braley

From New Deal Ditties: or, Running in the Red with Roosevelt, 1936

When "planned economy" first began
It looked like a swell "idea" –
Until we learned it had no plan
And wasn't economee.

For the taxes rise and the budget's shot
And the New Deal costs are met
By spending money we haven't got
For things that we never get.

The Billions roll in mighty stream,
A regular tidal flood,
With the net result that each spending scheme
Bogs down in a sea of mud.

When plans and programs go all to pot
Do the New Deal planners fret?
Why no, they think up a brand new lot
Of schemes to spend what we haven't got
For things we will never get!

FDR managed to turn a banking crisis into a ten-year depression. Today's elected officeholders seem to be determined to repeat the process.

Tip of the old battered fedora to Diane Hseih at NoodleFood.


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California