Government Threatens Use of Force in Texas

Texas Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst, a politician seeking to persuade conservatives that he wants to ban abortion after losing to conservative leader Ted Cruz, tells Michelle Malkin’s Web site that in the aftermath of the state senate gallery disruption that helped stop the recent abortion ban, he thinks journalists may have acted to incite what he calls a “riot”.

By what standard do we measure whether gallery expressions of free speech, which I think are part of the proper purpose of a legislative gallery in a free republic, constitute a riot?

Dewhurst goes further, however, in pledging to review senate security videotape to identify such individuals and that, on those grounds, he pledges to “take action against them.” So, in other words, he’s saying he’s going to arrest journalists for inciting a “riot” in the state senate. Promising Malkin’s Web site that he will bring a ban on abortion to the senate again, he also threatens to clear “the gallery with our state police.” (I wrote about an American heroine in the Texas anti-abortion craze when I posted about Wendy Davis).

If this Texas moderate, who reminds me of another lowly, no-good Texas politician who moderated his political position to snuggle up to conservatives for political gain – George H.W. Bush – cracks down on the press (are members of the media prohibited from expressing themselves when they accept a government pass?) we may have to dub the Lone Star state the Red Star state.

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.

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.

Law: I Oppose ObamaCare

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act—otherwise known as ObamaCare—turns two years old today. I do not want the date to pass without stating that I oppose ObamaCare—100 percent—on principle because health care, as Leonard Peikoff argued in 1993, is not a right.

Under that fraudulent morality, this legal monstrosity forces insurers to cover sick people, controlling terms, prices and treatment and forces Americans to carry insurance, which it destroys as a profession as it destroys medicine as a profession—at a projected cost of $1 trillion. As a nation, we give up everything – our autonomy as doctors, patients, insurers assessing risk, pharmacists, drug companies – for what the “O” in the President’s self-consciously calculated signature, which resembles a zero with a slash through it, delivers: nothing.

The law completes America’s transition to government-controlled health care. As the Washington Post concludes in its analysis: “Insurers will increasingly resemble well-regulated public utilities, with … new constraints on their rates and profits.” Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi infamously declared that Congress had to pass ObamaCare to find out what was in it. On the law’s second year mark, we know that what’s in it is poison. We should reject, kill and repeal this law. In the meantime, each freedom-loving person must stand up and speak out and say: I Oppose ObamaCare. I just did. If you agree, and I say this as an activist for individual rights, it is your turn.

Supreme Court: Congress May Re-Copyright Public Domain Works

In an interesting decision today, the Supreme Court ruled that Congress has the power to re-copyright public domain works. I have not read the decision and I am not a legal expert, but I am concerned that this ruling, which as I understand it effectively prohibits public use of works such as composer Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf and director Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, elevates international law above U.S. law and may amount to granting the government the power to dictate perpetual copyright terms. In dissent, Justices Stephen Breyer and Samuel Alito said the upheld law goes against copyright theory and “does not encourage anyone to produce a single new work.” The dissenting judges note that copyright is part of the United States Constitution to promote the arts and sciences.