Dol Guldur: Spitting in the eye of evil

As some may be mystified when I make a lot to do about certain types of movies and I rate them exquisitely high, and then seemingly trail off into a different more contemporary direction for the next series of writings, there is a good reason for it.  My wife and I have a number of hobbies we share together, she does a lot of personal crafts–and reads a lot, I read, write, and practice bullwhips—but one thing that we share intensely is a study of evil and the various forms it takes in society.  We have intense discussions about parallel universes, and the numbers for infinity contemplating how evil manifests between dimensional planes and grabs lives into this little four-dimensional space we all share on earth.  We make a point to see how evil burrows its way between the lines of reality like the roots of weeds and finds its way around a sidewalk brick and goes around solid objects rather than through them.  I have often compared our waking world to a 24 frame per second movie—what we view we accept as our reality—however we are really witnessing 24 independent pictures per second which our mind paints together into a functioning comprehension.  What exists between frames 18 to 19 or 20 and 21 is a black empty bar separating the pictures from one another which our minds ignore so that we can accept the reality presented in the framed pictures.  Often evil lives and comes into our lives in those black spaces, it comes into our minds because we cannot behold two separate realities presented on the same metaphorical film strip at the same time—so we often accept the pleasant pictures of existence rather than try to understand what isn’t so pleasant.  It is in that understanding that my wife and I share an intense passion and also gives insight into a world that is acting upon us—but is otherwise invisible.

Religion for me limits this exploration.  I enjoy the magnitude of Biblical study and other religious examination into the roots of evil—primarily through mythology, folklore, and philosophy.  But mankind’s explorations into evil did not stop in the Dark Ages when many of the religious texts of the world were surmised.  They continue—even more so today than ever before in the realm of fiction.  It is highly likely that in the distant future once the dust settles on the ages a bit that literary classics like J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion will become religions onto themselves—perhaps 2000 to 3000 years in the future.  It should be noted that Tolkien considered himself a Christian, but had a deep need to understand the nature of evil as he witnessed it during two World Wars—so he invented a mythology that could explore evil in a way that the old mythology of Satan from The Bible did not go far enough.  The desire of any modern society to focus the minds of mankind on ancient traditions and mythologies is so that emotional distance can be maintained between one age now gone and harmless and the new one where much is at stake and power is to be had.  So long as the functioning myths of a society are on events 2000 years ago people generally do not see what is happening to them in the world of today as their focus is adrift.  But in modern stories like the contemporary Hobbit, writers like Tolkien have tackled that problem directly with the type of story that can be directly applied from Middle-earth, to modern existence.

In the film The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Gandalf discovers Black Speech graffiti imprinted on an old ruin, coinciding with a telepathic message from Galadriel imploring him to investigate the tombs of the Nazgul.  When Peter Jackson went off on this subplot as the film’s director it has drawn a critical response from Tolkien purists who don’t feel that the work of The Simarillion should be included in the film adaption of The Hobbit.  But Jackson did it anyway and I’m very happy that he did because it turned out for me to be one of the most intensely enjoyable parts of the film.  Once the three Hobbit films are complete Jackson will have correctly connected the Lord of the Rings trilogy together with The Hobbit in a way that Tolkien didn’t live long enough to do, and that will bring the work to a new audience, which is of utmost importance.  Once at the tomb Gandalf discovers that the Nazgûl have been revived by their one true master.  This prompts Gandalf to visit the ruins of Dol Guldur which he discovers appears to be dilapidated beyond refute.  But this is only an illusion as a spell has been cast over the place to keep its true form from being noticed by the outside world as a mounting army led by the ancient evil form of Sauron—who in this film is a Necromancer—a disembodied spirit organizing events in the world for his triumphant return as the one world ruler.  The spell is meant to disguise these efforts so that they cannot be stopped while the rising evil is still vulnerable.  The Necromancer confronts the solitary Gandalf and tells him that there is no light in the world that can stop darkness, which then provokes an epic battle of which Gandalf is not quite prepared to deal with.

 The cosmological myth prefixed to The Silmarillion explains how the supreme being Eru initiated his creation by bringing into being innumerable spirits, “the offspring of his thought,” who were with him before anything else had been made. The being later known as Sauron thus originated as an “immortal (angelic) spirit.”[5] In his origin, Sauron therefore perceived the Creator directly. As Tolkien noted: “Sauron could not, of course, be a ‘sincere’ atheist. Though one of the minor spirits created before the world, he knew Eru, according to his measure.”[6]

In the terminology of Tolkien’s invented language of Quenya, these angelic spirits were called Ainur. Those who entered the physical world were called Valar, especially the most powerful ones. The lesser beings who entered the world, of whom Sauron was one, were called Maiar.  In Tolkien’s letters, the author noted that Sauron “was of course a ‘divine‘ person (in the terms of this mythology; a lesser member of the race of Valar).”[7] Though less mighty than the chief Valar, he was more powerful than many of his fellow Maiar; Tolkien noted that he was of a “far higher order” than the Maiar who later came to Middle-earth as the Wizards Gandalf and Saruman.[8] As created by Eru, the Ainur were all good and uncorrupt, as Elrond stated in The Lord of the Rings: “Nothing is evil in the beginning. Even Sauron was not so.”[9]

The Nazgûl (from Black Speech nazg, “ring”, and gûl, “wraith, spirit” (presumably related togul, “sorcery”); also called RingwraithsRing-wraithsBlack RidersDark Riders, theNine Riders, or simply the Nine are fictional characters in J. R. R. Tolkien‘s Middle-earthlegendarium. They were nine Men who succumbed to Sauron‘s power and attained near-immortality as wraiths, servants bound to the power of the One Ring. They are first mentioned in The Lord of the Rings, originally published in 1954–1955. The book calls the Nazgûl Sauron’s “most terrible servants”.

After the success of The Hobbit, and prior to the publication of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien’s publisher requested a sequel to The Hobbit, and Tolkien sent them an early draft of The Silmarillion. But through a misunderstanding, the publisher rejected the draft without fully reading it, with the result that Tolkien began work on “A Long Expected Party”, the first chapter of what he described at the time as “a new story about Hobbits“, which became The Lord of the Rings.[2]

The Silmarillion comprises five parts. The first part, Ainulindalë, tells of the creation of , the “world that is“. Valaquenta, the second part, gives a description of the Valar and Maiar, the supernatural powers in Eä. The next section, Quenta Silmarillion, which forms the bulk of the collection, chronicles the history of the events before and during the First Age, including the wars over the Silmarils which gave the book its title. The fourth part, Akallabêth, relates the history of the Downfall of Númenor and its people, which takes place in the Second Age. The final part, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age, is a brief account of the circumstances which led to and were presented in The Lord of the Rings.

According to Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, the Nazgûl arose as Sauron’s most powerful servants in the Second Age of Middle-earth. They were once mortal Men, three being “great lords” of Númenor. Sauron gave each of them one of nine Rings of Power. Ultimately, however, they were bound to the One Ring, and succumbed completely to its power and its seduction:

Those who used the Nine Rings became mighty in their day, kings, sorcerers, and warriors of old. They obtained glory and great wealth, yet it turned to their undoing. They had, as it seemed, unending life, yet life became unendurable to them. They could walk, if they would, unseen by all eyes in this world beneath the sun, and they could see things in worlds invisible to mortal men; but too often they beheld only the phantoms and delusions of Sauron. And one by one, sooner or later, according to their native strength and to the good or evil of their wills in the beginning, they fell under the thraldom of the ring that they bore and of the domination of the One which was Sauron’s. And they became forever invisible save to him that wore the Ruling Ring, and they entered into the realm of shadows. The Nazgûl were they, the Ringwraiths, the Úlairi, the Enemy’s most terrible servants; darkness went with them, and they cried with the voices of death. — The Silmarillion, “Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age”, 346

The corrupting effect of the rings extended the bearers’ earthly lives far beyond their normal lifespans. Some passages in the novel suggest that the Nazgûl wore their rings, while others suggest that Sauron actually held them.

In a letter from circa 1963 Tolkien says explicitly that Sauron held the rings:

They would have obeyed . . . any minor command of his that did not interfere with their errand — laid upon them by Sauron, who still through their nine rings (which he held) had primary control of their wills . . . — The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 246

They were by far the most powerful of his servants, and the most suitable for such a mission, since they were entirely enslaved to their Nine Rings, which he now himself held . . . — Unfinished Tales, p. 338

Tolkien’s world as it was portrayed in these massive volumes of work refers to a time on earth that has either long passed, or is in the distant future.  It is hard to know in geologic time when these events have transpired.  Robert Jordan in his Wheel of Time series took the work that Tolkien did several steps further and wrote 14 massive books, most of them the size of Lord of the Rings.  In those books he actually wrote about a period of human history where man were once again regulated to horses and magic—but this was thousands of years after skyscrapers and flying cars, a society hundreds of years ahead of our present time.  Society had risen and fallen and went through a rebirth phase—and this appears to be a possibility with the Tolkien work.

In our contemporary time we consider ourselves so sophisticated with our history, our educations, our iPhones, the internet, and modern weaponry, but we are infants looking at just a few frames of film and reality is much more than that.  It isn’t hard to see contemporary evidence of the events discussed above happening in the real world around us every single day.  However, in order to see them we need a kind of translation of what is happening between those frames of film in our lives—a way to understand them.  Tolkien has offered that, and Peter Jackson has provided a proper interpretation in a visual medium that is very powerful, and reaches a lot of people.  But evil is very real.  We see it and deal with it every day, and it is not enough to pray for help to an interpretation of a God understood thousands of years ago and shaped by centuries of power-hungry churches and empires demanding compliant citizens broken easily by force and faith.  Evil must be confronted directly, and we must piss in its eye and eradicate it from our lives the best we can—and before we do that—we must be able to see it, feel it, and touch it.  Like Sauron’s stronghold Dol Guldur, the “Hill of Sorcery” the real nature of evil is hidden from our eyes.  Study the reason for any public relations firm, and the practical function of them.  They are primarily designed to deceive our eyes and minds away from the facts and to direct our attention away from the vile tasks that often accompany their clients.  Study how this effect works in public schools and it will be easy to identify that there is a Dol Guldur in each of our communities spreading evil right under our noses, blinding our eyes to a truth that we cannot completely see.  CLICK HERE FOR REAL WORLD PROOF OF THIS PHENOMENON.

As I left the movie with my family after the second Hobbit film ended I listened to the people leaving and later read some of the reviews.  The assumption was that Peter Jackson was working purely for profit as Warner Brother execs wanted three billion dollar films out of the relatively small novel, The Hobbit—and Jackson was stretching things.  Without question that was Warner Brother’s hope, and who could blame them.  But Jackson saw a chance to make The Hobbit into what Tolkien likely would have wanted to do in 1937, but had not flushed it all out yet.  Jackson simply combined the life work of Tolkien’s study on the nature of evil and put it into three massive three-hour films, two of which are completed at this time.  Evil is more studied today than at any point in human history—the book stores are filled with the confrontation between good and evil—it is the central theme of our age.  Yet, we are told by modern society that value judgments against evil should not be made—that we should accept those different from us—and when I hear such things—I see the shroud which protected Dol Guldur from the prying eyes of the outside world.  And like Gandalf I poke and pry at those barriers because I suspect that evil is hiding behind such facades—and 9.999999999 times out of 10, I am right.  It is not because of magic that I’m often right about these things, it is because my wife and I have a habit hobby of defining evil and spotting it from afar the way some people watch birds, or weather patterns.  We enjoy it, and are always looking for where it conceals itself.  And part of the way we fulfill that enterprise is by studying the various forms that fiction writers of modern myth have used to discover the metaphorical Dol Guldur’s of our lives—those frames around the film that we cannot register, but know are there.

When I witness an honest attempt to confront these problems I tend to get very excited not because what is seen, but what is not.  The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug taken by itself as an action/fantasy film is decent fun. The effects are sometimes over-the-top, and silly, but the story is not about those things.  The ultimate theme of the stories of Tolkien was an exploration of evil and the proper way to meet it with a happy productive life untouched by such forces.  It is in this achievement that The Desolation of Smaug is an epic masterpiece that is heads and shoulders above everything else done like it—and the reason it will endure not just for years—but millenniums.

Unlike the fantasy world of Tolkien and his modern version of The Devil in Sauron, it is highly unlikely that only one such creature would evolve into such a state of evil over such a vast span of time, but many.  For the context of a story only one such evil can exist otherwise there would be no real narrative flow.  As my wife and I believe, there are thousands of Sauron’s in the real world every one of them just as bad as all the others.  They may not have magic and sorcery in their arsenal of tools the way these fictional characters do, but they have other tools, and they use them.  It is against those that we have a continued and enduring fight, and like Gandalf’s fight against the Necromancer at Dol Guldur it often feels like a tiny light surrounded by constant darkness.  Gandalf’s response and valiant fight is why someone like he should be President of the United States and take such thrones of power away from the many who function from evil and desire with every sign of life in the smallest cells of their bodies to touch the One Power of Sauron.  They desire such power for all the reasons that evil has ever spread over the lives of man—to be admired, and to shape one’s own destiny.  Evil often hides itself behind illusions the same as the one that shrouded Dol Guldur—and only films like The Desolation of Smaug attempt to portray such a thing.  So when a film does such a thing successfully, I give it an ambitious review not so much for the content and quality of the film, but for looking evil in the eye and giving it a form that people can relate to—so that they can confront it, and defeat it.  And before evil can even be confronted, a firm understanding or right and wrong, good and bad, light and dark and the vileness of evil must be understood clearly.   The living world is all about pairs of opposites, death is about unification.  In the living world choices must be made—light or darkness—good or evil—one team against the other.  There is no other way.

Rich Hoffman


‘The Desolation of Smaug’: A gift that only mythology could give–a film of GREAT importance

Until I saw the new Hobbit film The Desolation of Smaug my favorite dragon film was the old 1981 flick, Dragonslayer.  CLICK HERE TO REVIEW.  I have been waiting for this Part II of The Hobbit series for a long time—so much so that I have avoided talking about it to keep my excitement level in check.  The reason is that the attribute of human society that I most value is mythology, and there is no better exhibition of modern mythology than the Star Wars films and the Tolkien films by the great unpretentious filmmaker Peter Jackson.  Mythology in films and novels can communicate complicated aspects of human culture that cannot be communicated any other way and are the hinge pins of modern philosophy—which is directly created by a society’s mythology.  I don’t see The Desolation of Smaug as just another fantasy movie—I see it as a functioning mythology that says a lot about the state of our modern existence.  A great storyteller like Jackson can pour so much value into a film like this that years of a similar education under an orthodox system of instruction will fail after many years of trying.

There are two basic kinds of dragons in classic mythology, the oriental dragon which is largely a symbol of rebirth, and the European dragon.  I spoke about the oriental one the other day when discussing the upcoming film Godzilla.  Godzilla is very much an oriental dragon in a modern context.  Then there is the European version of dragon, the classic villain of so many movies from Sleeping Beauty to Fantasia, dragons in a European context represent human greed, arrogance, and corruption.  If one wanted to understand the major differences between Eastern and Western cultures, their basic interpretations of dragons in mythology would be the place to begin.  In the classic 1937 novel, The Hobbit, the dragon villain Smaug is a classic European dragon, and in this updated movie version, he is the king of all dragons ever filmed and put on a screen.

I would say that seeing The Desolation of Smaug is the most important commentary on modern politics that is available to anybody on planet earth presently.  A student of politics, philosophy, and social organization could watch MSNBC, Fox News, Politically Incorrect on HBO and achieve a doctorate in psychology, history, and political science—read all the books by Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, and Charles Krauthammer—listen to talk radio for the next 10 years, and there would not be a more accurate summation of the state of our world than in this Hobbit film.  The simple line of dialogue between two of the elf characters in the film upon deciding if they should fight on behalf of light or let the world fall to darkness was uttered by, “when did we let evil become stronger than us.”  That is what almost every human being is facing on the very day that you are reading this—what are the consequences of living our lives away from the light?  How does evil spread?  And what do we do about it when we are confronted with it?

The Desolation of Smaug is not just a simple morality tale speaking in generalizations about an ideal existence wrapped in fantasy.  It is a commentary—a mythology of the problems experienced in our modern times.  The setting has been changed to provide context in a similar way that Star Wars removed time and history with the opening, A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far, Far AwayThe Hobbit is dealing with the very nature of evil, greed, and faulty living that is at the heart of every human being.  It is literature on film, and is marvelous to behold. 

Smaug as the centerpiece of this latest story is the embodiment of the kind of individual who has taken the world’s wealth by force and sits upon it guarding it religiously.  He is the kind of bourgeois that added fuel to the fire of the communist movement where the common man wished to wrestle power back away from such dragons so that they could have their riches away from such greedy bastards.  That is why Smaug is a European dragon that sits in this movie upon a pile of gold taken from the Dwarves and their mines.  He loves it so much that he has buried himself within it so that he can worship it like a rodent burrows itself into the ground.  Many real life wealthy people like Bill Gates, George Soros, Michael Bloomberg, and Warren Buffet give so much money to philanthropy advancing progressive causes because they feel guilt over their wealth.  They wish to prove to the world that they are not dragons like Smaug even though in their wealth building years they behaved just like Smaug—rolling their bodies into their confiscated wealth.  In the case of Gates, he made his money the correct way with a superior product—but discovered that the world saw him as a Smaug, just as the Dwarves in The Hobbit saw Smaug as a villain who took their wealth.  Gates wished to prove that he was not such a Smaug so he began to give mast amounts of money to the public education system in America feeding the teacher unions.  In many ways Gates became like the treacherous politicians in Laketown—living in constant fear of Smaug—scheming around the beast to carve their own way to power and wealth.  For Gates and his idealism, he became a major supporter of Common Core which seeks to centralize the education process for society.  A good intention with a sinister reality which allows corrupt teacher unions to control the kind of curriculum being taught to children—which opens the door for despots to shape the minds of society for the worst.  In the film, once the dragon was no longer a threat, the kingdoms of the world now without the fear of Smaug immediately launched themselves into a power play for control of Middle-earth.  Smaug as cruel as he was made out to be when confronted by Bilbo in The Lonely Mountain was caught between his own genius and ability to inflict cruelty, and his ability to keep the vast evil that the occupants of Middle-earth possess in check.  Only a proper and effective mythology could communicate such a complicated concept. 

Peter Jackson is such a great filmmaker.  He knows instinctively much of what I write about here because his understanding of mythology allows him to think of things in the large view.  He can make a film like the Hobbit movies with an ease that is unfathomable to most Hollywood directors—especially on the scale that this Desolation of Smaug is.  Jackson gets it—and people sense that something important is going on in the movie which is why it has made over $500 million world-wide dollars in just two weeks at this point.  When he completes the trilogy, of The Hobbit, along with the Lord of the Rings films, Jackson will have completed one of the greatest explorations into the nature of evil ever done by anybody anywhere.  Of course Tolkien started the process with his great books, but Jackson has taken the baton and ran with it in a way that few people could ever hope to do, and he does it with a lack of pretension that is simply wonderful.

People who love fantasy stories like this generally are aware that the real world does not have much to offer them.  Most of the time, they see too much, and can’t lie to themselves about the nature of reality.  So they bury themselves in fantasy where they can relate to the characters that stand for justice, righteousness, and a fight against evil.  Doing such things in the real world is considered unrealistic, naive, and foolhardy.  So they turn to fantasy and lose themselves to the efforts of gaming, movies, books, and any other attribute a story can bring to a mind hungry for understanding.  We all know a Smaug in our life—whether it is a rich uncle, an employer, or even a political power.  Most of us think that such dragons must be killed and slayed so that the wealth of the world can return to us.  But often—which is an ideal that the writer Ayn Rand was exploring around the same time that Tolkien was exploring Middle-earth—there is a need for such dragons as they prove to be more capable than the greed of the Dwarves, or residents of Laketown.  The masses may not like the dragon, but often the dragon is more capable than the masses in dealing with the overwhelming pressure of greed—thus the line at the end of this film by Bilbo—“What have we done?”  Bilbo means, we killed the dragon, but we seem to have slayed ourselves in the process.

The Desolation of Smaug is such an important film as it deals with a massive social commentary that is pertinent to our present time in such critical ways.  Smaug is one of Ayn Rand’s characters who have failed at life.  He is not an overman able to support the world without corruption who creates wealth with creative effort.  Smaug took the created wealth of the dwarves with force, not creative effort—and spent the rest of his life guarding that gold because he was unable to create more of it.  To Smaug, the wealth was finite, created by others and if he wanted to keep it, he had to hold it greedily with terror which of course everyone in Middle-earth resented.  But without Smaug, the people of Middle-earth would be at war with one another constantly.  Smaug focused their hate into a direction that only a fire-breathing massive dragon could carry.  Bilbo because of his ability as a thief was able to spot a weakness in Smaug and let the people of Laketown know about it.    Once that weakness was exploited, and Smaug was removed as a threat, the real work of Sauron, originally known as Malron the Admirable, could begin.  Mariron was turned to evil by the Dark Lord Morgoth in the early days of the world, and ever after remained a foe of the Valar and the Free peoples of Middle Earth.   We all know people like Sauron too.  In fantasy fun is made of combating such figures with magic and battles with fantastic monsters, but the content of such people can be found on a local school board, or machine politics at any level and on both sides.  The reason people flock to see these films is not an escape from reality, but to actually see reality as it is masked to us in the light of day. 

The second Hobbit film, The Desolation of Smaug is a movie that everyone should see; its great cinema, wonderful story telling, and a visual art of the highest order.  Nobody makes films better than these films, except for possibly the upcoming Star Wars films which deal with the same basic content, only in a future/past kind of way.  On a scale of 1-5 I give this Hobbit film a 100.  It is that good—but only if viewers enjoy exploring the hidden aspects of a society that is not so far away in Middle-earth, but right in front of us all—only not seen because of our educations, and prejudices–a world that can only be revealed to us through mythology.

To understand more fully how powerful mythologies are to all societies, CLICK HERE.  

To read more about what I’ve said about The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, CLICK HERE. 

Rich Hoffman


The Michigan Education Association: Why teacher unions should be outlawed

I didn’t forget about the West Branch-Rose City school district case where the Michigan Education Association is going to arbitration to provide severance for convicted child rapist Neal Erickson with $10,000 of tax payer money.  As the former head of that union at the school, Erickson repeatedly raped the young son of the Janczewski family from 2006 to 2009.  The boy is now a man who turned 21 as of 2013.  During the hard years of the rapes by his teacher the young boy had a very confrontational relationship with his father, which makes sense—as without question the child was upset that his parents couldn’t protect him from such savagery.  This case infuriated me to such a degree that I had to put it on hold for a couple of weeks just to calm down.  I didn’t want to deal with it in this format during the Holiday Season.  When I first heard it, my lingering thought was to travel up to Michigan and clean house.  The law failed, the schools failed, government failed and the villain was the teacher’s union—clearly.  So I had to hit pause in my mind and calm down—but even so—I am thoroughly pissed off at this case—emphatically pissed off is more like it.

This case represents everything I have warned about on this site with hundreds and hundreds of articles.  Teacher unions are vile collectivist organizations that should have NOTHING to do with educating the future of America.  They shouldn’t be allowed to conduct business of such a degree as what is happening with the Janczewski case, and should be outlawed in all public institutions.  There is nothing good that comes out of a teacher union for a child’s educational growth.  The union is only good for the employees of a school, and if any public school states that it wishes for what is best for the children which attend it—then they should support the removal of teacher unions from all public schools—because of this Janczewski case.

To a lesser degree within the Mason school system in Cincinnati and my current district of Lakota—I have seen first-hand the kind of collectivism that seemingly logical teachers utilize when they circle the wagons for a cover-up.  When something goes bad at Lakota, the teachers generally cover for their fallen “soldiers” in the struggle for “solidarity,” and even if the crimes are vile—they still stick together against all outside judgment.  Such team uniformity is destructive and has no place where children are present. The number of cases where teachers are having sex with their students—sending sexually explicit text messages to students and other vile acts are horrendously common.  During all these vile circumstances, the teachers stick together through their union and support one another against the judgments of the “outside” world.  Some people believe that I fan the flames of discontent to keep property taxes low—and have my own political motivations for revealing the information.  But the truth of it has always been that I’ve seen the kind of solidarity that the Janczewski case has revealed under the worst possible circumstances.

Lori Janczewski was a teacher and volunteer at the school who worked closely with Neal Haviland Erikson, 5’ 10”, born in 1974 on the 8th of September, a brown-haired, blue-eyed teacher union president who was in charge of virtually everything.  With that power Erikson decided that he’d seduce and rape Janczewski’s child who attended his middle school math class.  Years later in 2012 an anonymous tipster alerted authorities to video and pictures on child porn websites of the Janczewski son engaged in sex with Erikson performing oral sex and various renditions of anal sex.  Janczewski was so arrogant about his rape that he recorded it to share with the world–an act that made his guilt vacant of any dispute.  But that’s not the worst thing that happened.

Once the Janczewskis found out about what happened to their son bringing an end to the mysteries of why the child had become so unruly at home, the teacher’s union threatened harm if the family went forward with prosecution suffering retaliation.  Apparently the threats were made good when the Janczewskis pursued justice—their garage was burned down and their home barely escaped the fire.  On the wall of their house was the message beginning with a declarative pronoun, “I told you—You will Pay.”  It shouldn’t be too hard to figure out who burnt down the garage and left behind the message.  The most ardent supporters of the child rape wrote letters in support of Erickson which you can see below—as well as their email addresses—in case any law enforcement wants to pursue the case.   (I already know the answer to that, keep eating your f**king donuts) 

At the trial it was some of these people who marched into the courtroom and seated themselves on Erickson’s side of the room and came to his defense even after the video testimony was shown and he plead guilty.  If you take the time to read their letters, it is absolutely stunning that these small intellects are actually teaching children—anywhere, let alone at a school.  I find them astonishing.  ASTONISHING!

I didn’t hear about this story when Glenn Beck first covered it in August.  I actually saw it on Bill O’Reilly.  Beck is always well out in front of these kinds of stories before they make it to the mainstream.  I was dealing with at the time the many local issues regarding the teaching profession, so I missed this story coming out of Michigan.  The local stories were sexting cases where Lakota teachers were attempting to seduce student in the same way that Erickson had done, but the cover-ups were the same.  The biggest difference is that Erickson got caught red-handed with video tape showing him doing the act—and it was beyond dispute.  Without that video, there would have not been a case against the teacher, and he’d still be teaching and doing the same thing to other kids—backed by the teacher’s union.

The anger over this issue is in knowing that these kinds of things are happening all the time and when they do there is no shortage of apologists from the teacher’s union who use the same arguments they utilize to pass school levies to defend such atrocities against children—such as “it was only one child, and “it happened so long ago.”  Given what I know about these kinds of stories I would say that they are common place—not exceptions and that teacher unions have shown a tendency to hide even the worst crimes to protect their collective hive.

How many other children are there out there like the Janczewski child?  I would bet dozens in every public school in The United States, tens of thousands if taken with a collective summation.  Teachers are well aware of the crimes, but they won’t do anything about it for the same reason that they threatened Lori Janczewski with her job and well-being if she told anybody what happened regarding her son.  The Janczewski family was supposed to contain the information and sit on it, sacrificing their child to the lust of Neal Erickson, and his wife who was the teacher of the Janczewski’s youngest daughter.  Even knowing the terrible things that had happened to her brother, the sister was forced to sit and witness the intended cover-up by the wife of the guy who did the deed and put it on video for the world to see.   The wife knew, the other teachers knew, and they did not have outrage and condemnation toward Neal Erickson—their former union president—but support, even to the sentencing phase.

The union was not angry with the Janczewski family because of the crime.  They were angry that they pursued justice for their son.  They expected to use force and intimidation to silence the family into a sacrifice of their child to the yearnings of Neal Erickson–acts that the teachers who supported him endorsed.

I have told similar stories of issues that have happened like this at my home district of Lakota.  I have gone to attorneys, media personalities, and the local paper with the scoop on the story—and the result is resounding silence.  Nobody has the will to engage these horrors directly—they wish to continue believing that schools are safe for children and should be paid limitless property tax money forever to cover the cost of employing these idiots.  The courts will do nothing about these crimes unless the perpetrator is caught blatantly like Erickson was.  If there is any doubt in the case, the police union will help the teachers union cover up the story the same way they do for police beatings and abuse—and the courts will play along because they don’t want their garages burnt down, or their daughters raped and pulled over by officers looking for revenge.  And if anybody thinks that is an inflammatory statement, I have swampland in Florida complete with a plug and play diamond mine to sell you.  The crimes committed by members of teachers unions is epidemic, they may not all be as openly bad as the Erickson case, but they are vile nevertheless. And we continue to fund them with our property taxes to slowly destroy the lives of the next generation with progressive tripe and sexual abuse—all in the name of job security and good pay in the public education system.  With these people it is all about solidarity—not a value system of behavior and that makes every member of a teacher union a danger, and menace to society.

Rich Hoffman


The Ever-so-Unpopular Obamacare: Clueless politicians and lost government workers trained all wrong

Obamacare will never, ever, in a million years be a successful enterprise.  Unlike when Progressives ran through Social Security, and Medicare against the American public, The United States does not have the financial resources to support such a terrible—socialist oriented concept without wrecking the entire economy.  It would seem that since most government jobs require college degrees, that the architects of Obamacare—otherwise known as the Affordable Care Act—would understand why their revision of American health care would be a miserable failure. Unfortunately the issue points to a deeper problem.  American colleges are teaching the incorrect fundamentals about virtually everything—and this has led entire regiments of government workers to incorrectly handle problems their educations should have prepared them for.  Obamacare will be a failure because of the modern trend of mismanagement indicative of not properly understanding what quality is, or how it’s created and now that it has sunk in Americans are turning against Obama and his health care reforms.

In a telephone poll, taken between December 13-19, it asked 1035 adults — 950 of whom were registered voters — the following question: “As you may know, a bill that makes major changes to the country’s health care system became law in 2010. Based on what you have read or heard about that legislation, do you generally favor or generally oppose it?”

62% of those polled said they oppose the Affordable Care Act (ACA), while support for the law hit an all-time low of just 35%.

The common belief among all government bureaucracies, even those with major contracts with such agencies—mismanagement is rampant.   Perhaps it is the heavy instruction of Keynesian economics—socialist indoctrination, left leaning politics, and irresponsible social behavior driving those failures.  Virtually nobody is coming out of modern colleges with a basic understanding of management.  The belief so common these days is that if jobs are created and a human body is carrying a nameplate on their desk indicating that they are in charge of something—that the job of management is getting done.  However, this is not what’s been happening.

Management is more than just showing up for a job—it requires somebody to actually provide leadership and carry productivity toward benchmarks.  In modern government nobody carries anything.  A roomful of people show up at a meeting and brainstorm on an idea—but nobody ever takes any of the ideas to the next step—because they have been taught that individual achievement is bad, and that collective enterprise is a virtue of the highest order.  The net result is that nobody makes decisions, nobody drives productivity, nobody leads anybody anywhere which is why all government projects are perpetually over budget, late, and ultimate failures.

Obamacare was certainly created under these precise circumstances. The intention conceived during brainstorming sessions during 2008 to 2009 sounded good—give poor people health care coverage using socialism to deliver the product to them.  However, departments because they lacked basic management skills and did not have skilled people driving their efforts simply threw money at the problems hoping that everything would mysteriously be solved.  Even top management officials in the government with Doctorates and Master’s degrees lacked the fundamental skills to manage even basic leadership skills.  They were functioning with the belief that all they had to do was show up—and this was the beginning of the end for them.  The result is massive overspending on a health care product that hasn’t been able to deliver even a computer interface that is user friendly—even when the best minds in the world are working on the project.  The reason is because leadership at the very top is an utter failure—and no matter what happens below those “leaders” the efforts will be negated by the collective hive of incompetence.  This is the direct cause of the severe cost overruns of Obamacare.

Americans have now seen all this happening in real-time, and now that its 2014 when the law begins to take effect the urgency of the situation is now on people’s minds.  They see failures and the mismanagement, and they aren’t happy—and the poll numbers reflect it.  Like a typical clueless bureaucrat Obama and his fellow government workers threw together budget deals in the last-minute, and tied up what they considered loose ends and went on their vacations for the Holiday without a care in the world.  Obama is so out-of-touch he appears to not even realize the implications of his failure even as every news station is broadcasting his folly with wall-to-wall coverage all over the world.  He’s busy doing “selfies” with celebrities and going to college basketball games like a normal every day guy—because that’s what he is.  There is nothing special about Barack Obama other than the ability to con people with lies spoken before large crowds.  He can do such things because he is disconnected from reality by his training—like every other government worker who survives that type of work for more than five years.

No amount of money can fix Obamacare because it was conceived in a leadership vacuum—by nobodies without thought.  The merit of Obamacare is no different from the five-year old girl who wishes upon a star and expects a wish to come true.  Even the child who tells their parents that they wish for the moon, and then they cry when nobody can take it out of the sky and give it to them—Obama is just as unrealistic about his health care reform—and his personal insanity is now costing people money, health, and happiness.

The Tea Party said all this would happen and nobody wanted to listen.  Instead they were called names by government workers and hunted down by the IRS, but the reality did not change.  Obamacare still failed even when the critics were stuffed away to the fringes of society.  It failed because the people who conceived it were failures and lacked management skill—something that money cannot overcome.  Great managers can be purchased with money, but money cannot replace good managers—which is a premise that colleges have been teaching for more than 6 decades.  Education institutions have been functioning from a belief that all human beings are like Lego blocks, and can be interchanged with one another depending on a desired outcome.  They have been selling that colleges make those Lego blocks and once a degree in management, or administration is achieved, then those employees are equipped to show up at a desk and take on that role immediately.  But it doesn’t work that way.  Quality is more important than knowledge, and colleges do not teach quality—only mimicked behavior of successful people—not what made them successful to begin with.

So welcome mainstream thinkers to the world view that the real leaders of the world have had from the very beginning—those who called Obamacare three years ago a dismal failure that would be a detriment to American society.  Welcome to reality—where Obamacare will harm people needlessly, and wreck the best health care system in the world with a socialism that has already crippled Europe. Welcome to the world of failure by government where employees run everything with a rudderless commitment to nothing but ideas concocted by the mind of intellectual infants and overly trained fools.  One of those fools is on a beach in Hawaii playing with his kids completely oblivious to the folly of his ways because he doesn’t even have a mind to assess failure from success—other than the wishes of a child who wants the moon—and screams when they can’t have it.

To begin to understand how much extra Obamacare will cost average Americans click the link below:

Rich Hoffman


The Box of Christmas Past, Present, and Future: Important gifts from important people

Christmas gifts always mean more than the actual material value of an item.  They often represent how people see you and whether or not they value you or not.  I was proud to see that so many different people went well out of their way to give me gifts that held tremendous symbolic meaning.  The effort placed into each of them goes recognized by me—unfortunately it would be nearly impossible to include them all here one by one in a way that would not bore everyone reading.  However, two gifts jumped out at me as being exceptionally good and deserve some recognition.

The first gift was not given by any particular person, but was just a gift of life itself.  My wife and I were in our outside hot tub on Christmas Eve, the temperature was right around 15 degrees Fahrenheit with a bit of a chill to the air.  The clouds were moving quickly in the noon day sky and the sun was brilliantly bright.  We had a particularly quiet morning, which was a gift in itself and had no place particularly special to go that entire day—so I was very relaxed.  The mist was coming up off the water with an intense fog because the water inside the hot tub was 102 degrees Fahrenheit.  The zone of air about two feet from the surface of the water was well below freezing while a small bubble of warm air mixed around our heads like a miniature climate indicative of the Earth’s atmosphere.  I popped open a Mello Yello for breakfast which had been refrigerated at approximately 32 degrees Fahrenheit and a spew of cloud-like moisture erupted from the can.  It was a neat geyser effect that would have only occurred in those specific climatic conditions and was something to marvel at.  Watching the mist dance in the air I could only conclude that “life was good.”

The other thing was that my parents gave me an iPad Mini for Christmas.  That was a very nice gift but was not the climax of the entire ceremony.  My mom wanting to build up the anticipation for the gift had wrapped it with incrementally larger boxes so that the origin box was a rather large thing, kind of a matryoshka doll concept.  It was this first box that actually turned out to be the best gift.  When I was a kid in the 6th grade that box had a special Star Wars gift in it that was particularly significant.  It was just a normal box, but my mom had wrapped it in a special Star Wars wrapping paper that was common in 1979-1980.  After I had opened that gift my mom had kept the box.  She had wrapped it in a way that the paper was attached to the box.  Way back then she made a comment that someday when you’re old I’ll give you another gift in it.  When I was at such an age a time like that seemed so remote and beyond thought that I forgot about it.  Well, this Christmas my mom had done just that using that old box with the 40-year-old wrapping paper still on it looking like it did when it was new.  The paper itself would be the envy of anyone who goes to events like Comic Con, or Gen Con.  It was a rare item that was like a piece of archeology from another time and place—and it was. After seeing the box again after so many years I really didn’t want to open all the incrementally smaller presents inside—I was fixated on the box.  However, after some time, I did finally unwrap my way to the iPad after about six boxes of barrierimage

I immediately downloaded Star Wars Pinball onto the iPad with Star Wars Angry Birds and had the time of my life the rest of Christmas playing those games.  During the age of the original date of the Star Wars wrapping paper the biggest gifts under a Christmas Tree during those years were small little hand-held football games that were basically little digital sticks that could move across the screen with the rapid push of a button.  Now games much more graphically interesting and complicated can be downloaded like nothing for .99 cents onto an iPad and played with almost no moving parts to fail after so many button depressions like those old games were subjected to often.  Star Wars Pinball is phenomenally fun, and would be worth $2000 dollars to me just for the sheer delight.  It seems unfathomable that such a thing could be downloaded onto an iPad for almost nothing.  I knew that in 40 more years some future children would look at my iPad and wonder how on earth I could ever enjoy such a thing—but that box with the Star Wars wrapping paper would still be around to bring a smile to someone’s face—I’d make sure of it.  The iPad as cool as it was would have long-lost its value, but the box would be priceless to people who appreciate such things well into the future.

For me it’s those kinds of extra efforts put into gifts that I appreciate.  Readers here sent me CDs with special songs on them to remind me that they thought of me during the Christmas Season, and other people went well out of their way to throw me similar curve balls of thought picking out presents for me.  And of course my mom fulfilled a promise she made nearly 40 years ago and gave me the box with the Star Wars wrapping paper once again.  Getting an iPad is a wonderful gift, and cost a lot of money.  But the real value comes when such ceremonies are placed on the ritual to give it the added meaning—and that extra thought is what makes Christmas such a delight.

For those reasons and more I watched another Christmas drift off into the cold January tundra of snow, cold, and gray skies with short days and sidewalks covered in ice with a bit of reminiscent contemplation about a Mello Yello can that spews forth magical mist and a box from my distant past that has brought forth yet again a tool of value for my present age.

Christmas is a wonderful time—and this one of 2013 was one of the best for me.

Rich Hoffman


Why Teachers Have Sex With Students: Lauren Harrington-Cooper five times in one week

If the intended goal of public education is to spread a message upon the earth of equality for all, then they have failed miserably—especially when it comes to interaction between the sexes.  For decades now, public schools have advocated equality for women, homosexual acceptance, and frequent sex with other students so long as it’s “protected.”  Progressives noticing that things were not going well on that front have sought through public relations to lower the bar of expectation because practice in the real world has not been good.  When men and women, boys or girls are brought together in any kind of interaction, they attempt to have sex with one another.  Education institutions have failed to even put a dent in this kind of behavior.  If they’ve done anything they’ve made it worse because churches are no longer allowed to govern human behavior of a primal nature in any public place leaving the mind of millions undefended and functioning from their primal desires—eating and finding sexual release.   Just ask Michael Obama regarding her husband’s behavior at the Nelson Mandela memorial where the President was openly flirting with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt.

Young men have two particular modern-day problems—they are always on the lookout for who is “top male.”  They do this through games that prove who is smarter, faster, wiser, stronger, or have the ability to win the most females.  The other problem they have is embarking on some sort of male ritual proving they have evolved from children to adults.  In our modern society they do this through sexual conquest.  These days, if a young boy can have sex with a female at 13 to 14 years old—he is considered a stud and will be considered among his peers as a top male.   Most young men by the time they reach 23 to 24 years old—if not sooner negotiate with themselves where they fall on this pecking order mentality.  Most will live their entire lives comfortable in knowing that they are not at the bottom of the social pecking order among men, but that they are far from the top as well.

Females in spite of all the feminist attempts to make them equal to men are still functioning from their “goddess” power.  CLICK HERE TO REVIEW.  If women are placed in a fox hole with a man, or a group of men in the military—she will be having sex with somebody if not all of them. She will never be considered one of the guys so long as she has breasts, differently shaped hips and other seductive female features opposite biologically from males that want to stick parts of their bodies in those strange shapes.  For Christmas I attended several end of the year parties—for the first few rounds of drinks anyway—and if females were present that were over a rating of 5 or more—somebody was trying to have sex with her—no matter if the woman was married, divorced with 20 kids, or whatever color she was.  It does not matter to a guy—if the woman has the female parts, she will be pursued as a release for the male’s desires in the same way that the man will look for a restroom when he needs to use it or a restaurant when he is hungry.  No rules or blending of the genders through legal intimidation has proven successful—only forced layers of repression.  If the woman is over an 8 or more, or is the wife of an important man, she will be pursued for sex by the males who are fighting for a top of the male pecking order food chain.  If such a woman is “bagged and tagged” the male will earn respect from his peers.  The husband of such a wife will typically lose his status as a top male and will find himself divorced and begging for custody of the children on weekends.  If he is a successful person he will then likely seek sex with a woman half his age thinking he is paying back his ex-wife, but really he is simply returning to a compatible mate that is intellectually equal to him.  Because he has lost his top male status he seeks to return to the time of selection and be reassessed by the other males using his money and power to steal away from all the young bucks a potential sex partner that would deliver him to a higher pecking order rank once again.

The insult that many have today is that public schools are sold as palaces exempt from this kind of behavior.  In these schools this kind of primal conduct is supposed to be replaced by intellectual pursuits—at least that was the intention.  Instead, sex, sex and more sex is the dominate activity occurring in public schools—and this mentality is going with the students and teachers back into the mainstream world with great emphasis on personal pleasure.  Because of the great equality push to hire women in teaching positions there is no shortage of sex stories between the sexes in public school between student and teacher.  The male teachers want to have sex with the hot young girls—the girls who could elevate their pecking order status among the other males—and females want to deliver all the potential “bad boys”—young men needing the love and nurturing of the females “goddess” power to her sexual tools.  The more government-run institutions have attempted to assimilate males and females together by stripping value judgments from human activity the worse they have made the sexual interaction problem between the parties—because value judgments often instruct a mind not to engage in destructive behavior.  This is obviously the issue with Lauren Harrington-Cooper (you always have to watch women with hyphenated last names) a teacher who found herself having sex multiple times with one of her students.  For the boy, he was elevated among his peers for having sex with their teacher—the symbol of authority in their classroom.   The teacher is more desirable over the other girls his own age because having sex with the teacher is equal to mastering an authority figure—so this elevates the male in the mind of other males as being closer to a top male.  Here is the story as reported by the

A Pennsylvania English teacher is charged institutional sexual assault for allegedly having sex five times in the past week with an 18-year-old male student.

Lauren Harrington-Cooper, 31, from Plymouth, Pa., is an instructor at Wyoming Valley West High School.

She’s accused of performing oral sex on the senior three times and having intercourse with him twice.

probable-cause affidavit indicates the sister of the alleged victim told her brother that Harrington-Cooper said he was “hot” on Dec. 13. The sister subsequently gave him the teacher’s phone number.

Harrington-Cooper and the student began texting each other later that day and agreed to “hang out.” She began to pick him up in front of his house or around the corner.

The parents of the alleged victim discovered their son had a “sexually explicit conversation” with a teacher after he borrowed his mother’s laptop and used the free texting website Pinger.

In my Spanish class at Lakota many years ago we had a teacher nicknamed Senorita Slut by her students.  On my scale she was about a 5 or a 6, but many of the males in my class thought she was hot because she was 26 and weighed about 110 pounds.  I didn’t care for her because she always smelled like coffee and had too many freckles.  But she would often call young males up to her desk to ask if they needed help understanding her Spanish class.  On such days prior to these private conferences she would visit the rest room and come back looking perky and sit down at her desk with her bra missing.  Most of the time you could see the bra straps under her cloths from the back, but after returning from the bathroom, those straps were gone.  And she’d casually unbutton two buttons and sit forward in her chair as though she were being attentive to the words the students were saying.  Going to her desk and speaking with her, it was impossible not to notice her nipples exposed as she’d lean forward letting her shirt drop forward giving a clear view of her breasts. She’d not make eye contact so not to discourage anybody from looking, but would measure the reaction of your face once she leaned back—all the time pretending the whole ordeal was about teaching Spanish.  I suspected then, and in hindsight am sure of it, that she was looking for some male to take her up on her offer—earning her the reputation as Senorita Slut.

Public schools are cease pools of this activity.  If you have a mildly attractive daughter she is running a constant gauntlet of sexual advances by not only other students but by teachers as well.  If you have a confident, ambitious young male son—he is being pursued by females age 18 to 50—because women want to have sex with males who still are trying to work at being “top male.”  They don’t enjoy sex with males who are happy to roam in the middle of the pack in the male pecking order.  They want to use their goddess power on males who are at the top of their game—which is why hot chicks always fall for rock stars. The rock and rollers may be physically disgusting, but they are confident because it takes a lot of courage to go out in front of 30,000 people and sing—thus women routinely take off their panties and throw them on the stage advertising themselves for sexual fulfillment.  Women want males who still work at being the “top male” and men want women who will elevate their peeking order standing with other males.  Public schools are wasting billions of dollars in education funding trying to dance around this fundamental problem sending adults into the world more poorly prepared for real life than ever.

When it came to Senorita Slut I went to church all the time and had a value system that told me that it was wrong to sleep with the teacher—or even flirt with her to advance the cause.  Not to mention that I have always worked to be top male, and such a woman wouldn’t take me where I wanted to go.  She would have been a concession, and that wasn’t appealing.  But other males who didn’t want to do all the work of being a “top male” were happy to stare at the breasts of Senorita Slut and take her up on a bit of sexual initiation into manhood.  For Senorita Slut—an average girl who couldn’t find any men in her age group still working to be a “top male” the young high school kids still had hope of being “great.”  They did not yet have that defeated look on their faces when she’d go out to dinner with them.  The high schoolers still had hope, and that made them “hot” to her.

There is absolutely no question in my mind why Lauren Harrington-Cooper found the young 18-year-old student so “hot.”  The men in her age group were already well into buying homes, establishing themselves in a career, and having children—and once men arrive at this age they know where they are in the pecking order chain of command with other males.  Likely, Harrington-Cooper didn’t like where those males saw themselves and she wanted a male not yet defeated for sexual gratification.  Public schools employing such women and men are not equipped to deal with this problem in any way—since the “state” has taken away all value judgment from education—and only value judgment tells a young man to stay away from the horny teacher hungry for love that she can’t find among men her own age.  For that reason alone, public schools are some of the most dangerous places on planet earth.  Sex is not a harmless enterprise.  It may seem like only physical pleasure is the byproduct, but human beings have an added dimension to their sexual experiences—they have memories and feelings—and such actions have consequences whether or not they get caught, lose their jobs or even go to jail.  Human beings establish their entire lives off these basic foundations and the young man who lets the teachers in their lives limit their pecking order potential with an easy “bag and tag” are harmed intellectually just as the male destroys a female by swooping in as a man twice her age and branding her his own among other young males who might otherwise be interested in her.  The older man is living a destroyed life, the other young men, not so much—and she loses opportunity because of the older male teacher. And public schools have no measure of dealing with these problems because they are in denial of their very existence.  It is in this denial that all their problems spring forth—and why they are a menace to society instead of the saviors of it.

Rich Hoffman


The Joan Powell Legacy: Big spending, high taxes, manipulation, and cover-ups.

I always thought it was strange when I gave an interview once to Michael Clark at the Cincinnati Enquirer how the reporter asked me so many questions about Joan Powell—and what I thought she should do differently to help repair the image at Lakota schools.  He came across as having a “man crush” on her, which didn’t seem possible—but to each their own.  Later it became obvious that Clark and Powell where intellectual adulterers—cut from the same cloth philosophically.  So it should come as no surprise that Clark was salivating over Powell upon her exit from Lakota schools at the end of fiscal year 2013. CLICK THE LINK BELOW TO SEE CLARK’S PARTING TRIBUTE TO POWELL.

For everyone else, Powell was a menace—a power hungry despot that played a lot of political games and used her position at the school to assist her real estate career.   I summed up Powell’s career more appropriately than Clark on 700 WLW where Doc Thompson and I poked fun at the kind of things that the Lakota school board wanted to cover up—like the infighting that was going on.  Watch the video below to reminisce over those events.

For the collective good of Lakota Linda and Powell put their differences aside and pulled everyone together for another levy attempt at the end of 2011 going into 2012.  Powell being an old veteran on school boards run by radical left wingers like Jamie Green and Sandra Wheatley clearly sided with the labor union advocate groups against tax payers, and instead of listing to the voters in the previous three elections decided to go on a public relations campaign against me specifically working very hard behind the scenes to eliminate opposition to her will and unite the community in the same way that she pulled the board together.  The situation backfired leaving Lakota to not attempt another levy for 2 more years in spite of having the media, politics, and many latté sipping prostitutes in her back pocket for support.  Instead Powell would sanction the spending of many, many thousands of dollars carrying over into the deep six figures hiring specialists that would improve Lakota’s public relations and hopefully win a levy not based on merit, but on pity.

Lakota simply threw looted money at their problems, and then asked for a tax increase to cover the costs.  It was a situation of pro public education radicalism at its worst.  Powell never portrayed herself as a radical, but her behavior certainly represented such views.  This is the legacy of Joan Powell at Lakota—a big spender who used the school to sell homes to panicky young parents who needed a day time babysitter for their children—and Lakota schools through taxation was cheaper than their other options.

Reporters at all the major television stations and of course the papers never felt comfortable covering these follies because of the perception of public education as being the centerpiece of a community. To admit such things as being faulty would be to admit that there are serious social issues afoot that are contextually destructive.  So rather than analyze the pro tax radicalism of Joan Powell and past Lakota school boards—they only measured the success rate of levy passage as an indicator of a successful school district.  For instance, this is how Clark from the Cincinnati Enquirer framed one of the successful hurdles overcome by Joan Powell during her reign, “The longest operating tax levy losing streak in Lakota history. From 2004 to this fall, voters rejected six of seven school tax hikes. But in November voters narrowly approved a new school operating tax.”  The assumption in that comment is that it is taxes that make a successful school, and if every few years taxes are passed—then the school will be considered productive.  There is never the question asked as to how long such taxes could be extorted from the public before the whole house of cards comes crashing down—or how many homeowners were forced to leave their homes because of the high taxes.  Or, how many businesses folded because of taxes, or how many didn’t sign a lease because the tax rates were too high.  The opportunity cost assessment of tax increases were never analyzed by the mainstream media.  The only measure of success was whether or not taxes were obtained so that school boards like the one that Powell was president over could throw money at labor union collective bargaining contracts and buy a few more years of peace from that radical progressive element.

For all those reasons the best Christmas present the Lakota school district could have received is the retirement of Joan Powell from the school board.  The remaining board members have issues—and lean way too far to the political left—but are not relics from the old corrupt days at Lakota the way Powell was.  The challenges to the board from No Lakota Levy have made them function better as a leadership body.  People like Powell and the current superintendent Karen Mantia resist that improvement—but the tide is slowly sweeping their type out to sea.  That is not to say that all is well at Lakota—but the old guard progressive types like Powell are fading off into nightmarish memory.  She is the last of the heavy radicals who occupied the board at Lakota and paved the way for the ridiculously high teacher salaries, the misspending, and the many cover-ups.

The way Powell did it was reporters like Clark ate from her hand like a tamed dog sitting by her side waiting for table scraps of information carefully arranged by Lakota’s public relations people.  Without that cooperation Lakota might have actually lived within its means, not dumbed down so many children, and ruined the lives of so many people caught in cover-ups.  The path to hell is always paved with good intentions—and I believe that Powell was full of good intentions.  The remaining question is—good for who?  The answer will come in time.  With Powell gone from the board one of the most divisive and manipulative public figures in Butler County is no longer able to do such corrosive damage directly.  For me, the best Christmas present I received in 2013 came from the ending of her time as school board member and president. A Lakota without Joan Powell is one that has hope—unless your perspective is a giant state-run school teaching progressive instruction taking society into a Brave New World.  In that case, Joan was a Madonna and symbol of radical advancement of left-leaning policies designed to shape the entire world.  In that regard, Joan was successful—for those kinds of people.

I will always enjoy knowing that Joan spent several hundred thousand tax payer dollars and two years worth of effort to move voters 4% points only to extort more money from the local residents.  Now that is a legacy!

Rich Hoffman