Thelemic date

Monday, July 23, 2012

Does Obama Accept Blame For Aurora?

This article was originally going to ponder President Obama’s off-the-cuff remarks in Roanoke. While revealing his belief that government is the fountainhead of all opportunity, he also exposed the serious flaw of Statism: if the individual is not responsible for his own success but is rather dependent on the existence of the State, then why isn’t everyone successful? Obama implied that teachers and roads and bridges and the Internet (all in his mind government creations) are responsible for an individual’s success. So why isn’t everyone successful?

In fact, if Obama’s sworn enemy, the 1% (who nonetheless donate millions to his reelection), were truly successful only because of government, then government has a 99% failure rate and should be abolished immediately as a horribly wasteful experiment.

That’s what this article would have been about. Then came Aurora. A dropout from a doctoral program planned an elaborate solo terror slaughter of a dozen people who did nothing to him but attend a midnight movie that he decided to attack.

The tragedy was immediately and cynically exploited by Democrats such as Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who demanded gun bans--another failed statist plan that leads to such disarmed-victim killing fields as Columbine and Aurora. The counter-argument--that there weren’t enough guns inside that theater that night--barely gets any coverage at all amid the cries to surrender essential liberties in the name of illusory security.

So now the question is this: if President Obama thinks the State is responsible for the success of businessmen, is it also responsible for the murders in Aurora? After all, the killer used the Internet to order his ammunition and he didn’t create the Internet. Government research created the Internet so that he could buy ammo on it. He didn’t invent ballistic armor--somebody else made that happen. He didn’t pave the road that he drove on to the Century theater--somebody invested in roads and bridges. He didn’t think up the explosive devices on his own--government schools gave him the scientific training and research skills to learn how to make bombs.

If individuals are not responsible for their own success--if the State makes individual virtue possible--then individuals are not responsible for their own evils. The State makes individual vice possible, too. So if Obama wants the electorate to think that government is the engine of success and he--as president--deserves praise for individual success, then he must also accept responsibility for mass murders such as those in Aurora. If not, why not?

Friday, April 06, 2012

Marine Disciplined for Stating the Law?

Marine Sgt. Gary Stein is facing separation hearings for running the Armed Forces Tea Party Facebook page. One of the statements he made was that he would not obey an illegal order from Barack Obama. However, he is fully in accordance with both his oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign or domestic, and the Universal Code of Military Justice section 16c(1)(c):

Lawfulness. A general order or regulation is lawful unless it is contrary to the Constitution, the laws of the United States, or lawful superior orders or for some other reason is beyond the authority of the official issuing it.

The Founders recognized that an American's fealty should be to ideas and to Liberty, not to Authority. Any authority--even a president--is subservient to the central principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and any order that contravenes those principles is invalid and need not, must not, be obeyed. This UCMJ section was taught to me by Lt. Skinner, who contrasted an American soldier's obligation to disobey illegal orders with the the lack of any such option for a German soldier in WWII. "I was only following orders," he pointed out, was not a valid defense for any member of the American military.

Sgt. Gary Stein should not be forced out of the Marines for stating, promoting, and defending one of America's most fundamental concepts: that every citizen must learn, understand, and defend Liberty, even if that means defying the State.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Post Office Cancels Santa

[Merry Christmas, everyone! To celebrate the day, here's something I wrote in 1991, but is just as timely today...]

I have a vice to admit. I collect stamps. Blame my father for introducing me to philately at an early age. I don’t have the full-bore habit, though, if you know what I mean by bore. I’ll occasionally buy plate blocks when an interesting stamp appears. So when I heard that the Post Office (nobody really calls it the United States Postal Service) had issued a booklet of five different Santa Claus stamps, I eagerly rushed out to buy them.

These stamps are lovely, all right. They even tell a little story: Santa drops down the chimney, checks off items on his list, delivers the goods, waves at us by the fireplace, and flies away in his sleigh. What wonderful stamps with which to spread holiday cheer! I rushed them home to show to my 7-year-old. Her reaction was not the one I had anticipated.

“Why do they have Santa on a postage stamp?” she asked suspiciously.

“It’s Christmas,” I said in that bewildered parental tone.

“You said someone has to be dead to be on a stamp. Is Santa Claus dead?”

That hit me from left field. I almost exposed the entire centuries-old Santa conspiracy by saying, “Well, honey, the law doesn’t cover fictional characters.”

“You mean Santa’s not dead, he just isn’t real?”

Aieee! My mind raced. “No, muffin. I mean, uh. . .” She could tell I was concocting a whopper. “I mean the, um, pictorial representation of Santa Claus--who really is a real person living at the North Pole--is an imaginative interpretation by an artist. You see, it’s OK for the Post Office to print stamps reproducing artwork, and these are stamps made from paintings of Santa.” Did it work? Had I buffaloed my little impressionable one?

Her eyes narrowed. “Every stamp,” she said in a sternly patronizing tone, “is made from artwork. Paintings of living people aren’t allowed either. The Post Office is either saying that Santa Claus never existed or that he’s dead!”

I had to come clean with the kid. Here was an agency of the federal government undoing everything Jack Albertson had done in Miracle On 34th Street when he took the sacks of mail addressed to Santa Claus and delivered them to Jimmy Stewart filibustering in the Senate chambers. (Or did Stewart fly the mail to Paris with Donna Reed? I’ve got to stop watching those Stewart/Capra marathons.)

I had to come up with an explanation. Maybe if I told her Santa had the misfortune to carry some gifts wrapped by Libyan elves. . .

“Sweetheart,” I said, sitting her down. “I want you to brace yourself for a shock.” She looked up at me with her large, innocent blue eyes. “You’re a big girl now,” I said, “and big girls have to face the truth, no matter how painful it may be.”

Her voice caught in a tearful sob. “You mean. . .?”

“Yes, Vanessa, the Post Office lied. The mean old postal commissioner, whose name, I believe, is Ebenezer-something, decided that if he couldn’t force everyone to give him an extra cent for each letter they mail, he would tell all the girls and boys that Santa was dead. Yeah, that’s it! And he didn’t get that extra cent, so he tried to ruin Christmas for all the little boys and girls. The newspapers are calling it Santagate. Garry Trudeau is drawing a few strips about it.”

She looked crushed, as if all faith had been stolen from her. She ran to her room, crying, “I’ll never ever believe in any federal agency ever again! And I’ll seriously question any statements issued at the state and local level, too!” Her door slammed. I heard sobbing.

Feeling like the grandfather of all Grinches, I half-heartedly made some eggnog and sat in front of the fireplace, staring in gloom at the gaily decorated Christmas tree desiccating by the hearth. Nothing could break my mood.

My wife finally consoled me by saying, “She may have lost her faith in the government, darling, but at least she still believes in someone who offers her something for nothing.”

That’s true! And he delivers overnight and never loses a package.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Yoga Studio -- Episode Three


And the trilogy is complete! In this episode, Caitlyn (Vanessa Koman) receives The Bus Talk from her boss Rachel (Tiffany Chandon). We've all received these pep talks before, but Caitlyn gives Rachel the backtalk we'd all like to spout. Look for the return of Leandro Cano as Bobby! (And look for Leandro on CSI: Miami this Sunday in the episode Blood Sugar!)

The Yoga Studio -- Episode Two


Vanessa and I have finished Episode Two! In this one, a nerdy guy (Rob Downs) interrupts Caitlyn (Vanessa) and Miss Laura (Allison Horack) and turns the Yoga Studio upside down with his Tolkienesque antics. Hilarity ensues. Never has a squeak toy been put to better use. And, yes, she globed the video.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Yoga Studio -- Episode One


I've been working with my daughter Vanessa on her new web-series The Yoga Studio, and the first episode is now on her website. I served as the Director of Photography (i.e., it was my camera and I refused to let go of it) and the Editor. Vanessa, though, was the real powerhouse behind the project. She wrote the scripts, hired the actors, filed the SAG paperwork (including Taft-Hartley for the non-union members), and directed each episode as well as starring in them. We've taped three episodes and they will all be posted between now and Christmas. I had fun editing them with iMovie and using iDVD to create DVD versions. Check it out at WatchTheYogaStudio.com.