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Today’s Movie Theater Massacre

News is still breaking about today’s attack in Aurora, Colorado, on a movie theater audience for The Dark Knight Rises. While I am saddened, I am neither shocked nor surprised. The latest American massacre (12 dead at this writing) is more evidence that the United States of America is in decline and dying. While movies matter and have the potential to bring us together, the assault demonstrates, especially to those who hate talking politics and avoid thinking about serious issues, that life can be wiped out in an instant by those who worship death. Today’s movie theater massacre reminds us that finding and applying the right philosophy is a matter of life and death. In my experience, many people turn the other cheek from the facts of reality by striving to make and see movies as an escape from reality – or they turn up their nose at political activism while perched in front of a television, from a comfortable place or detached from daily life in an intellectual ivory tower insisting that movies are “just movies” – and this bloody Friday shows that we are urgently running out of time. The president Obama, speaking this morning about the attack, says this act of mass murder is “beyond reason.” As usual, he – whose political philosophy is rooted in a death premise – is wrong. Today’s act, which is what it is, is perfectly accessible to the mind. Not only is the movie theater massacre open to our knowledge and understanding; life and happiness are only possible by choosing to think and live by a philosophy of reason, egoism and capitalism. In other words, Objectivism.

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The ObamaCare Ruling

Today is another sad day for our dying America: the Supreme Court has upheld ObamaCare, according to most reports. But it should not be a surprising day for Americans, not to those who choose to think. Anyone could have seen this coming.

Chief Justice John Roberts, a conservative whom most on the right supported when he was appointed by President George W. Bush, joined the left-wing justices and voted to uphold the individual mandate as a tax. The leftists accepted the mandate as part of the commerce clause, as the Obama administration argued, and the other justices, including swing vote Justice Anthony Kennedy, rejected the law in its entirety. Think back to Chief Justice Roberts’ nomination hearings in Congress. All anyone probably remembers is that his children and family were attractive. One of his cute kids acted up and everyone thought it was adorable – and it was – and the bland, conservative family man John Roberts somehow seemed acceptable as a judge on the nation’s highest court. Conservatives have never – never – argued on principle for reason, rights and capitalism. Conservatives totally reject the idea that one has a moral right to act in one’s self-interest. In fact, they vehemently oppose selfishness.

For the past three years, I have argued against ObamaCare on this blog and elsewhere, and I have argued, in this post, that conservatives are the enemies of individual rights and must be regarded as such until and unless – and to the extent – they prove otherwise as individual politicians. But, really, no one should be surprised by today’s decision; as with the Islamist attack on 9/11, there has been an unending series of facts and evidence that the worst (i.e., dictatorship) is in a sense an unavoidable climax to our once great republic, with one massive advancement toward government control after another, leading us toward total government control and economic collapse (and in foreign policy one appeasement after another, leading to a catastrophic enemy attack).

It is hard to live in today’s dark times among confused, conflicted people who control our lives and lead us toward our doom and, while it is sad that ObamaCare will take us there much, much faster, and there is a real sense in which I think we are doomed, the only thing one can do is address the question of what one can do about it – and do it for one’s own sake. That means accepting the fact that conservatives – such as Bush and the Heritage Foundation – gave us Obama and ObamaCare and continue to reaffirm their commitment to faith in the welfare state. We must move toward pure capitalism, which on a certain level means having a proper understanding of its moral premise, egoism. In other words, what we need is a philosophical revolution, starting with ourselves.

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News: Rodney King is Dead

The man whose arrest and beating led to a government/media response that incurred the worst U.S. riot of the 20th century has been found dead, according to news reports (read my recent post on the Los Angeles riots here). His body was found by his fiancee in their home’s swimming pool 55 miles from Los Angeles. He was 47 years old.

I always thought convicted felon Rodney King was a sad person, whose eyes held such pain and sorrow when he spoke about what became of the city of angels in the wake of what he did and what was done to him. His famously uttered plea – “can we all get along?” – was immediately interpreted as some sort of universal challenge for everyone to love one another. But I think he spoke in desperation, as an exasperated, flawed black man suffering under the additional burden of racism, particularly the racism of those claiming to advocate on his behalf who were in some way demanding of him a duty to serve his race. Racism among blacks is as despicable as racism among any other race and its consequences are devastating (as I noted here in a post about an accomplished black journalist).

King, who recently wrote a book titled The Riot Within in which he expressed doubts about comparisons to Rosa Parks and other black heroes, seemed from the beginning of his unwanted fame to grasp that he was not a hero and he never seemed comfortable with being portrayed as a victim. That his body was found on Father’s Day is a reminder that being a man is about the sum of one’s choices, which form one’s character, not the blood in one’s veins. The sad, criminal life of Rodney King, who was arrested 11 times after the 1992 L.A. riots, is a lesson in how not to be a man.

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Obama, the Nothing Man

President Obama, who arrived today in Kabul, Afghanistan, just finished addressing the nation tonight in a televised speech – addressing a camera, not U.S. troops – telling the public the opposite of the truth: that the United States is pulling out of Afghanistan. In fact, Obama signed an agreement pledging U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan until at least 2024. The war that began under President Bush on October 7, 2001 has essentially been extended with our soldiers in harm’s way for no decent purpose in our nation’s interest another 12 years in what adds up to a 23-year war for nothing.

In chronic re-election campaign mode, Obama, with heavy eyelids and moving his eyes slyly from side to side while reading his script, spoke at an undisclosed location decorated in military beige somewhere at Bagram Air Field at 7:31 pm ET. Though the new agreement stipulates that Afghan forces take over their state’s security in 2013, with U.S. troops scheduled to officially withdraw in 2014, the U.S. is now committed to what Obama calls “an enduring partnership” in which American soldiers train, advise, and assist and fight (his words, not mine) in Afghanistan, where our republic has now endured the longest war in U.S. history.

On the first anniversary of the date that the U.S. launched an assault on Osama bin Laden, who was outrageously given religious burial ceremonies by the U.S. military, Obama chose this date to boast that the U.S. is negotiating with what was once Al Qaeda’s state sponsor, the Taliban (which he pronounces “tolly-bahn”), praise the Afghan security force, which increasingly attacks U.S. soldiers, and refer to 9/11 as the day in which “3,000 innocent men, women and children” were killed, making absolutely no mention of the fact that Americans were murdered on 9/11 for being Americans – mass murdered on American passenger jets, in America‘s tallest skyscrapers and at the center of America‘s military defense. Instead, Obama vowed to protect what he describes as “dignity and human rights” for the people of Afghanistan.

With not a single word about individual rights for Americans, which he has unceasingly assaulted since taking the oath of office, he glided through more lies about “an America where children live free from fear” knowing that American children are growing up in terror of the government – especially the TSA, which ought to be abolished – including a four-year-old girl physically isolated, patted down and detained as a suspected terrorist in Kansas last week. It is monstrous that this president is our commander-in-chief; like his predecessor, he rejects the ethics of selfishness so he cannot credibly pretend to represent the nation’s self-interest, and when he refers to “a just and lasting peace” – the line on which he ended (bungling the words) – there is no doubt that the peace and justice he seeks is 100 percent antithetical to the United States of America. He proved again that he represents the nothing, the nil, and that he is taking us to our doom, with our precious American soldiers leading the way. Tonight, the nothing president Obama hustled another deception and expanded a war for nothing well into the new century, hastening the end of America, all the while calling it the opposite of what it is.

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Remembering the 1992 Los Angeles Riots

This week marks the 20th anniversary of L.A.’s riots, which were sparked by a mixed verdict in a racially-charged trial of police officers accused of using excessive force against a suspect. His name was Rodney King. He had refused to cooperate in an arrest which had been secretly videotaped and was subsequently – also repeatedly, selectively and partially – broadcast by the media nationwide.

I know firsthand that April 29, 1992, was a horrible day in metropolitan Los Angeles, California, because I was here. Within a week of rioting, 53 were killed, 2,000 were injured, $1 billion in property was lost and the city was looted and burned, left to rot for days, while white people and businesses were targeted for attack until the Marines, National Guard and Army were dispatched and citywide curfews were imposed. Here’s what I recall about that dark initial day and, fundamentally, what I think caused – at least partially – what’s become known as the Los Angeles riots.

First, the legal context. On March 3, 1991, paroled felon Rodney King, who is black, led police on a high speed chase through streets and freeways, ending in an arrest that the 6-foot, 3-inch King resisted while intoxicated. He was severely beaten by four non-black police officers who were being filmed on amateur video without their knowledge. The video was released to the press, causing charges of police brutality and racism in a police department with a track record of racism. Amid the furor, King was released on March 15 and, instead, the officers were charged with a crime (assault with a deadly weapon and excessive use of force and/or other crimes). A jury trial ensued in Simi Valley, California, and the 12-member jury came back on April 29, 1992, with a not guilty verdict on all counts except one, which ended in a hung jury. As I recall, few experts who followed the facts of the case, as against the controversy and speculation, were surprised. Legally, the prosecution was required to show that the officers intended to violate King’s rights by beating him and most trial reporters had indicated that no intent had been demonstrated at trial. Nevertheless, its aftermath was the worst American riot of the 20th century.

Why? In my opinion, the question brings us to the socio-political context. As the highly publicized case went to court, with biased reports, partial airings and frame-by-frame photographs of the arrest and beating inflaming both sides, especially an extremely misleading frame-by-frame report in Newsweek, which omitted relevant frames, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley – at first privately, then publicly – urged Los Angeles Police Chief Darryl Gates to resign. Chief Gates in turn refused to quit and launched a public campaign to keep his job. Both did this while the case was being adjudicated. Their public battle, which included commissions, maneuvers and political infighting and grandstanding, divided the city of Los Angeles, raising the stakes and inhibiting the city’s ability to handle any crisis.

Mayor Bradley had denounced the verdict before he urged calm and acceptance of the jury’s verdict. The police chief, Darryl Gates, petulantly and obstinately refused to respond on that first day of rioting, as if he was showing the city what happens without law enforcement, issuing statements for hours that police were responding despite reports to the contrary – in Koreatown, merchants under gunfire were forced into protracted battles to save their lives and fortunes – while Chief Gates attended a fund-raiser. The most deserving of blame, however, because he had the highest moral and legal authority, is the president of the United States: George Herbert Walker Bush. Immediately after the verdict was announced, Bush, apparently eager to say or do anything to win an election, issued the following denunciation of the verdict:

“… viewed from outside the trial, it was hard to understand how the verdict could possibly square with the video. Those civil rights leaders with whom I met were stunned. And so was I and so was Barbara and so were my kids.”

For an American president to publicly denounce a verdict in a case that had been given due process – and in such alarmingly racial and personal terms – was bad enough. Bush questioned the legitimacy of a proper legal ruling. The media, which had half-reported on the case without regard to crucial facts, shares blame, but the first ex-President Bush is at least partly responsible for the blood spilled in Los Angeles.

In fact, by the time news of the verdict spread, the people of Los Angeles had essentially been bombarded with the message from the media, the mayor and the president that Rodney King (who has since been arrested 11 times) was a victim of a racist police conspiracy and that any claim to the contrary was either outrageous or itself evidence of racism. So it was not surprising when white truck driver Reginald Denny was pulled out of his truck and nearly beaten to death by a gang of predominantly black thugs (Denny, incidentally, was saved by a black man, as were other victims on that day of death and destruction). The bloodshed was practically the afterthought to a president’s public rejection of a legally rendered jury verdict.

On a personal note, the blood might have been mine. I was in a Chinese restaurant in Pasadena, California, when the late-afternoon verdict came over the newsradio. Most in the racially diverse establishment, including the proprietor, stopped, listened and many acknowledged the news and went about our business. I was a young man 20 years ago, new to California, and my response to the verdict was basically: that’s that, now I hope we can all move on.

As a victim of racism – chronically pre-judged, hated and physically assaulted for being white – I should have known better.

Not more than an hour later, while listening to the radio in a Chevrolet stopped at a traffic light near Pasadena, hearing reports of area looting and rioting, a gang of black men came toward me through the intersection. They stopped when one of the men pointed to my car and yelled: “Get him!” I hit the gas pedal, ran the red light and drove home, where I could see Los Angeles burning.

I had already been targeted for being white, so that was no big deal (I know I’m not alone but it is not acceptable to discuss black on white crime). Still, a city siege had never been launched so blatantly, so publicly, in such an orchestrated manner, and I was suddenly alert to the dark, malicious influence of politicians and the press. That night, I could hear an endless loop of sirens as new columns of thick black smoke rose from the city’s skyline. As the sun went down, L.A. turned into something like a war zone, glowing orange and red on the horizon. Seeing Reginald Denny being assaulted and mutilated for the color of his skin live on television – knowing that it might have been me – was preparation for understanding how to face what was to come in my new life in Los Angeles: earthquakes, fires, floods and the race-baiting politics of what would be the outrage of O.J. Simpson, who got away with murder at least partly because he was black. The Los Angeles riots provide serious lessons – that government can be immobilized in its primary role to protect the public from looting and killing that were all but incurred by the government – and a harsh reminder that replacing facts with feelings – which was done by city leaders, a pragmatic president and packs of mindless journalists – is a matter of life and death.

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