Category: Arizona Shooting

Movie Review of ‘Snowden”: Make the kid a deal and put him to work

I have often thought of Oliver Stone as a brilliant screenwriter, climaxing with the movie Scarface starring Al Pacino.  As a director, I liked JFK and Natural Born Killers—which I thought were very ambitious.  I also liked his movie The Doors for the style of his approach to the subject.  But too often, Stone fizzles out in the second act and his movies never live up to the hype.  Art and activism are tricky bedfellows and most of the time the result just isn’t very good—so when he brought out Snowden just before the 2016 election as an obvious appeal to get a pardon for Edward Snowden stuck in Moscow with his longtime girlfriend unable to return back to the United States due to charges of treason and espionage—I wasn’t all that excited to see it.  However, due to the recent Wikileaks dump from the CIA called Vault 7 I thought it was time to at least see what all the fuss was about and learn the back story of Snowden.  Disappointingly, the last act was flat, as most Oliver Stone movies have been for years where the big payoff sort of sputtered out the moment that Snowden learned that you could turn on a laptop and watch women undressing in their bedrooms.  After that the story was really about a young twenty something who had his sensibilities hurt and had lost his nerve.  A story that was meant to show Snowden as a hero instead showed to me a 29-year-old genius who didn’t know how to handle a veiled threat from the upper levels of the CIA.

When Snowden’s bosses at the CIA let the young contractor know that they had been watching him in his private time he showed a naiveté that couldn’t match his big brain and the two things crashed into each other. Snowden had been given too much access to too much at too early of an age.  That scene based on real life was essentially the moment from the John Grisham novel—The Firm where a bright young prospect is nurtured along by older and wiser mentors only to have them reveal that they have control over every aspect of his life.  It’s essentially a hazing ritual that goes on in just about every place on earth that deals with the flow of money—where gatekeepers want to let someone who might be able to knock them out of a job in a few years, know that they are in control until they decide to hand over the reins.  According to Stone’s movie on Snowden—the kid got cold feet and let his mind erode away his logic.  No, I don’t like that the CIA and FBI are spying on everything we do as Americans, but there is a better way to make the case than what Snowden did out of a neurotic grasp on reality.

One thing that did surprise me was how determined Snowden was to become a special forces trooper, and once he broke his legs joined the CIA. During his entry interview, he was asked what his influences were—artistically, and he stated pretty much verbatim what I would have said, Joseph Campbell, Star Wars, Ayn Rand and Thoreau.  I also didn’t know that Snowden was a pretty straight-laced conservative who didn’t drink or smoke. After the first act I was pretty excited about Edward Snowden—he seemed to me to be a freedom fighter of a reasonable caliber.

But after watching him with his liberal girlfriend who was a sweet girl, but dreadfully naive—then with his co-workers, I realized who the guy was—and he was no hero. He is an excessively smart guy who essentially flew too close to the sun, and his wings melted. Down to earth he fell as The Guardian newspaper from England broke the story which they knew would embarrass the United States who was obviously struggling with a rogue government that had become the Deep State.  There are a lot of parasites out there in the media who want with every fiber of their essence to see any American do anything to embarrass their country even if its justified.  Because they are jealous of America and its reach into and around the world.

Now that the act is done however, there are lessons of plenty to go around. Our intelligence people in the federal government have assumed that everyone wanted to make that deal for security which I illustrated recently in an article about James Comey—and I’m not one of those people.  I don’t need some pinhead in the CIA to protect me from a terrorist.  If I see one, I’ll take care of it—better and cleaner than those idiots.  I practically begged some terrorist in Paris recently to attack me—I was wearing my cowboy hat around a radical poverty-stricken Muslim neighborhood and there were no takers.  These terrorists aren’t nearly as tough as the people in the CIA want to make them out to appear.  The CIA dramatizes everything so that they can get funding and more power—just like everyone else.  And when Snowden was confronted with an invasion of his privacy at the start of the third act of the Stone movie—he should have turned the tables on his bosses.  That would have been the manly thing to do—I would have gathered up pictures of those CIA heads in every compromising position and published them for all to see with even the hint of a threat—instead of overreacting and doing the whole—“I’ll show you” thing and reveal every state secret.  Needless to say, I couldn’t relate to how Snowden handled things in the second part of the film—he went from being very much in control and determined, to being a beaten young man under the emotional manipulation of a liberal girlfriend.   As I said about her, she was sweet and would have been a good match for someone with a fraction of Snowden’s ambitions, and ultimately she likely changed him to the point that he didn’t have the sensibility to work for the CIA anymore seeing people blown up on deserted streets in Syria as designated terrorist cells complete with collateral damage.

The undercurrent of the Snowden film which could have been good—but wasn’t—was that America had no right meddling in other country’s affairs—which of course we do. When other countries don’t solve their own problems, their immigrants come knocking on our doorsteps—so to protect our own nation—we have to go into nations that still entertain socialism, communism, and extreme religions and do what we can to diffuse bad guys planning to harm Americans domestically—and if left alone to their own devices will steal planes and run them into buildings, or bomb us in our many public gatherings as a punishment for embracing capitalism.  Snowden as a conservative changed during the film into something of a millennial crybaby and Stone seized on that aspect of the young man rather than that earlier much more conservative person.  Snowden’s character arch went from something likable to something rather pathetic and I blame the CIA for being second-handers and latching onto the kid so fast because they were essentially out of ideas themselves.

I am all for dismantling the Deep State which was revealed by Snowden and most recently caught manipulating the Presidency of Donald Trump but I’m not willing to throw the baby out with the bath water. If I were Trump I’d make Snowden a deal, I’d prosecute him for sure under Jeff Sessions and make him go through the embarrassment of public scrutiny.  But I’d put him into community service as an intelligence operative for a fraction of the cost of what he’s worth as a brilliant mind for 30 years.  A little freedom cheaply paid is better than rotting in prison, and so long as he’s in Russia, or other places—he’s helping other bad guys out there beef up their personal security and he’s not working on behalf of the United States. With a mind like Snowden—he deserves a second chance not for his benefit, but for the benefit of our country.   But his work would have to be more community service at a low wage instead of being thrown in jail only to be useless.  It’s good to keep enemies close, and Snowden should be in the United States doing work toward the next generation of threats instead of letting people like Oliver Stone make movies like Snowden to support in an indirect way George Soros’ open border network.  Yes, it’s a complicated problem but the solution is very easy.  Make a deal with the kid and put him to work limiting his freedom for decades—and we’ll all be better off.

Rich Hoffman

 CLIFFHANGER RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

Sign up for Second Call Defense here:  http://www.secondcalldefense.org/?affiliate=20707  Use my name to get added benefits.

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Saying “Yes”: ‘Ian up for Whatever’ Superbowl Bud Light commercial

Obviously, I have lived a colorful life.  I have something to say about just about anything and everything and that ability was carved out of my life experience.  Hey, it’s the Superbowl time of year—I love watching that game and the ceremonial nature that America dedicates to the event, so let’s have a little fun.  I loved several commercials during the game but I particularly enjoyed the new Bud Light commercial “Ian Up for Whatever.”  I knew from the moment that the young lady asked Ian–just a normal guy sitting in a sportsbar–that if she gave him a free Bud Light would be up for anything that followed–she was playing the role of the mythic goddess figures of the past and that Ian was in for an adventure.  There have been many times when life has asked similar questions, and my typical reaction is “YES,” because you never know what kind of adventure comes next—but to get there you always have to say “YES.”

That’s the gist of things in Bud Light’s new “Ian Up For Whatever” Super Bowl commercial—a star-studded spectacle involving hidden cameras and wave after wave of celebrity cameos.

The true star of the commercial, however, is a man named “Ian” who finds himself swept up in a sequence of wild events bordering on the unimaginable, but not quite as crazy as the uninitiated might believe.

Things begin with Ian sitting alone at a bar. He’s approached by a pretty girl named Kelly, who introduces herself and takes a seat. Within moments, Ian’s new friend holds up a Bud Light and asks a single, somewhat ominous question.

“If I give this to you, are you up for whatever happens next?” Kelly asks.

“Uh, I think so,” Ian responds, obviously thinking that Kelly was coming on to him.

That’s how it starts—a night of limousines, twin parties and more Arnold Schwarzenegger ping-pong than ever conceived possible.  Actually, that was my favorite part.

Ian receives a new jacket, courtesy of Friday Night Lights star Minka Kelly.

He also finds himself with comedian-musician Reggie Watts, who has been stuffed into a DJ booth inside the Hummer stretch limo designated to chauffeur Ian about New York for the evening.

The one prevailing tie in the commercial is the presence of Bud Light bottles, which Ian and company constantly have in hand. There’s also the omnipresent eye of the commercial’s directors and coordinators, who have the entire experience planned down to the moment and wired for video and sound.

In all, “Ian Up For Whatever” is an impressive feat of planning and videography. Any number of mishaps could’ve turned this commercial into a nightmare, but judging by the final product, things went rather swimmingly.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1943450-bud-light-releases-new-super-bowl-xlviii-ian-up-for-whatever-commercial

I could tell a number of stories where similar things have happened to me.  It is often surprising how a willingness for adventure can pave the way for the unfathomable.  Those events may not happen quite in the same way as Ian’s experience—and they may not involve such New York cultural pleasure, but they are often as outrageous and cryptically elusive to the mind of a planned individual.  The human spirit often carries events beyond conception, and the real magic of life is often beyond those borders.  I have been to such places many times—so much that nothing would shock me now.  Where Ian was amazed, I would have been much more flat lined.  The limo would not have surprised me, playing “baby tennis” with Arnold Schwarzenegger wouldn’t have been strange or finding oneself onstage with a major music group, relative to my personal life.   Crazy things do happen, and they often start with the word “Yes.”

A good lesson from that commercial is to say “yes,” a bit more often.  When your boss places before you a tough challenge……………..say, “yes.”  You’d be surprised what might happen.  When your car starts sputtering because you are almost out of gas, say “yes” and keep the petal depressed.  See what happens when you run out of fuel a mile short of a gas station.  Many adventures are likely to transpire.  When you pass by a restaurant that strikes your interest, say “yes” and pull in and try it out.  Stepping out of a routine can be very exciting.  Say “yes” more often and let adventure into your life, and you will discover that Ian’s experience is not that unique.

Good things don’t always happen, but I still say yes to many things, because I love adventure.  It is adventure that has filled my mind with so many opinions, and given voice to so many topics.  I have a story for everything when I talk to younger people because in my past I have said “yes” to many outrageous adventures even the ones that appeared to be kamikaze runs.  I always figured I was cleaver enough to avoid death, and I have been right more times than chance can take credit for.

Because of those adventures I love my life.  I love every day of it and I don’t have regrets.  Even bad decisions were part of the “saying yes” process, and the adventures that followed have led to tremendous amounts of experience which translates to personal wisdom.  In this life, wisdom is capital—more powerful capital than gold, or the perceived values of finance.  Wisdom can gain finances, but finances cannot gain wisdom.  Wisdom is by far more valuable, and wisdom can only be obtained by living life—and to live life, you have to “say yes,” to things.

A guy who reads here a lot will recognize this story immediately but I remember a trip to Panama City with him which nearly mirrored this Bud Light commercial.  It started by “saying yes” to a cold March evening, a complicated engineering problem, and a political stalemate that needed to be broken loose.  It ended hours later over a thousand miles away with me playing football on a beach after jumping off a pier from about 25 feet and breaking my ankle in the sand.   I wrapped the ankle and continued playing football anyway under the moonlight next to the ocean.  We slept with a tent half constructed next to a harbor, and solved our problem over breakfast at a Burger King.  We returned to Cincinnati within 48 hours of leaving for our next meeting and solved all our problems with a fresh perspective.  Adventure is good for building wisdom.

There are hundreds of those types of stories, but most don’t involve the kind of elements seen in that Bud Light commercial.  The Panama City one did, which is the reason for the reference.  But all such adventures lead to the ability to have wisdom—something young people don’t have until it is developed.  At the end of his adventure in the Bud Light commercial Ian was wiser than was when he simply agreed to a girl in a bar to accept whatever happened next.  Adventure happens all the time to many people, and adventure builds wisdom—but before either can be obtained a person has to be willing to “say yes.”  Lucky for Ian, he did.  But you too Dear Reader can experience adventure in the strangest places and times.  All you have to do is, “say yes.

Rich Hoffman

 www.OVERMANWARRIOR.com

 

THE NOTHING

For years now I have wondered if Glenn Beck was getting his show topics based on my articles here at Overmanwarrior’s Wisdom.  What he speaks about and what I write about seemed to parallel closely over a long period of time.  I know I don’t have time to watch and listen to Glenn Beck in much detail.  My exposure to Beck is usually what people send to me in the form of clips through email.  On Beck’s end, given his success over the last 5 years, I’m sure he has the same problem that I do only 100 times worse, so I doubt he has time to read my articles—unless somebody he trusts sends them to him.  But it is beyond coincidence that he has arrived at just about the same place that I have in regard to public education at virtually the same time.  The only rational explanation is that people like Glenn Beck, Judge Napolitano, John Stossel and of course myself have arrived at the same independent conclusions based on our observations of public education because logic has delivered us to truth’s door.  The conclusion of those observations that is difficult for many to hear is that if you love your child, you should take them far away from public education.  If you love your country, you should take your children out of public education.  If you love humanity, you should take your children out of public education.  In short, public education is a terribly corrosive social element that is destroying everything we are as human beings toward an aim that is beyond human comprehension.  Watch Glenn Beck state the same things I have been saying for quite a long time now:

When I first worked with No Lakota Levy to reform the cost impact of our local government school I didn’t feel so strongly until I learned how mindless the collectivism in public education truly was.  But a few years into the levy fighting efforts and three elections later which were ignored by the administrators, I began to realize that Glenn Beck’s statements above were true, and a sad realization.  It was actually hard for me to accept and I have never been a fan of public education or collective endeavors of any kind.  Even in my own school days when many of the coaches wanted me to be on their track and football teams I was always hesitant because of the collective nature of the “team” concept.  Even as a young man I never yielded my individuality to a collective endeavor—so with that position in mind it was hard for me to realize that public education needed to be scrapped in America in favor of a system that is independently competitive, and innovative.  Anything attached to government control needs to be rejected and since The Department of Education was created at the federal level in 1979, public education has quickly degraded into a propaganda arm of progressive causes.  But why is this so?

The best explanation for the degradation tendency of public education and collectivism in general cannot be found in the rally cry toward socialism or communism that comes from the political leanings of progressives—it’s a far deeper philosophical problem than those types of ideologies.  To date, the best explanation behind the type of evil that is in the wake of public education was best defined in the fantasy film The Never Ending Story which came out in the 1980s just a few years after the creation of the DOE.  The Never Ending Story is a fantasy about a young hero who must slay a fathomless enemy called The Nothing and the pursuit of the hero’s journey for the main character is to learn that it is imagination that destroys The Nothing.  The way to destroy the evil that is destroying the world is to recharge the world with imagination—(thought).

Childhood mythologies often contain within them the stories of morality that all of society needs to keep order to their own value system.  As anyone who reads me often understands, mythology is the most important ingredient that a society produces which is why I so openly support the Star Wars franchise, because the product of Lucasfilm is in the manufacturing of values society is hungry for.  The reason that fantasy is so popular culturally in movies and books is because humankind seeks to counter the effects of the mythical “Nothing” which imposes itself on their lives—as defined in The Never Ending Story.  WATCH THE BELOW CLIP to learn more about The Nothing.

When I was in the fourth grade my class went on a field trip to see the Cincinnati Pops at Music Hall play a symphonic rendition of John Williams’s music for Star Wars.  Hanging behind the orchestra was a giant projection screen which displayed slides of the movie characters during the performance and the entire building rumbled with cheers as each slide arrived in procession celebrating the movie that had taken America by storm in 1977.  Star Wars to all my young classmates from schools all over Cincinnati were being enchanted with the values of the music and the film behind the characters that contained limitless imagination and boundless energy.  I thought the experience was a wonderful one.  But later, when we returned back to the school on a silent school bus and were back in the seats of our classroom our teacher unleashed a fury of anger at how inconsiderate we were for cheering on the heroes of Star Wars and ignoring the efforts of the members of the symphony.  Even as a young fellow in the fourth grade I shook my head at the obvious ignorance of the teacher. I knew that the teacher represented The Nothing well before The Never Ending Story so accurately placed a name on the type of evil she was spewing.  Her values taught to her as an educator pursing the field of instruction through years of college thought the symphony was more valuable than the characters the music reflected—her values came from The Nothing.  She valued the collective symphony as the source of goodness behind Star Wars instead of the individual characters who were the real heroes of the afternoon.  The music only supported the plight of the heroes.  She misidentified the value system of the entire event.

Years later when I first saw The Never Ending Story I had an awwh haaa moment while watching it, and it hit me most when I was first married and had a young child of my own sitting on my lap looking for family friendly programming to show my daughter.  When the wolf explained what The Nothing was, I immediately thought of the political world in the wake of the Reagan Presidency, my personal experiences with public education, the relationship between public sector jobs and private sector and all the drama of local politics.  The situation in America was not quite as bad as it is now so the impact of The Nothing was not yet in place so obviously.  I could see The Nothing even then as clearly as can be expected for something that doesn’t exists–because even a blank space is “something.”  The Nothing can only be seen for what it destroys, not for any mass it holds.  It can only be measured by what is missing from one moment to the next.

Now, in 2013 many years after the release of The Never Ending Story following 4 years of George Bush senior, 8 years of Clinton, 8 years of Bush Jr., and now 5 years of Barack Obama as Presidents of The United States, it is easy to see that The Nothing is moving easily through the world and it uses people like the wolf did in The Never Ending Story to carry the message of The Nothing.  The Nothing seeks to destroy thinking.  It is what Ayn Rand calls “evasion” in the philosophy of Objectivism.  In mythologies like Star Wars it is called The Dark Side of the Force. But in The Never Ending Story, it is most accurately described as “The Nothing.”

The products of The Nothing are all forms of collectivism which seek to strip away individual thought and action on behalf of a greater good.  The greater good is never on behalf of individual freedom, it is always in service of The Nothing—the evil behind the evil that some cultures call The Devil, Sith Lords, demons, or any face of sinister display. The attempt to articulate such collectivism with a face only names the crime—but does not define the origin of the crime, or the tendency to succumb to it.  In public education young people are stripped away of their minds and are vehicles for The Nothing which has slowly destroyed the entire world right in front of our faces.  No one person controls The Nothing.  But individual people dance to its strings just as the wolf did in The Never Ending Story.  In that context it could be said that The Nothing is behind government seeking to increase taxes forcing parents to have two incomes to accomplish what one used to—to strip mothers away from their children leaving kids open and vulnerable to The Nothing of public education.  It is The Nothing that moves the mouth of Barack Obama seeking to place every child in America during age four into pre-school so that a mind numb teacher can begin to teach young people to turn off their thoughts, and imaginations in dedication to The Nothing.  The Nothing is often difficult to see.  But in public education, it is evident for those with eyes that are open and willing to take notice.  Public schools—government schools–are dedicated to The Nothing like a religion.  To see The Nothing speak to people and learn what is NOT there.  That is how you know The Nothing is at work.

It is The Nothing that Pink Floyd sang about in their Wall album.  Many pot smoking patrons declared that the movie The Wall could only be understood when they were “high,” (mentally impaired, intoxicated—or otherwise inebriated) which has been the running dialogue among young people for the last 30 years.  But for me, as a young man of 16, 17, and 18 years old who didn’t do drugs of any kind, I understood The Wall on my first viewing, and knew the protagonist was fighting against The Nothing ultimately.  Pot smokers could only begin to wrap their minds around freedom from The Nothing when they were “stoned” and had turned off the rules of society.  This is why people do drugs and get drunk, so they can have momentary release from the grip of The Nothing.  But when the intoxication wears off, The Nothing has them again, and the poor souls become mindless dogs lobbying for more school levies, advocating more socialism under President Obama, and seeking to expand government so that it destroys each and every individual on planet Earth.

I know that many reading this will wonder how I can connect all these dots, and may even question whether or not I am even sane—because relative to their social position, these are outlandish claims.  For many people fantasies like The Never Ending Story or Star Wars are just entertainment and the lessons of mythology contained within those stories are dead to them.  Those are the kinds of people who are the wolves in our society who help The Nothing destroy the world without knowing it.  Like the teacher from the fourth grade who represented The Nothing yelling at our class her embarrassment of students clapping and cheering the images on a slide show instead of the live collective symphony of the Cincinnati Pops, The Nothing destroys by ripping away the source of goodness through deferment.  The teacher played her role in destroying the imagination of her students year by year until the kids were less mentally than what they were when they first entered kindergarten.  Teachers like that fourth grade instructor plant the seeds of The Nothing so that the adult of 50 years of age has less of a mind than the 3-year-old, because The Nothing lives in their minds and eats their thoughts.  It doesn’t mean the 50-year-old does not have statistical knowledge.  But the ability to think independently has been destroyed in such individuals—and that is the result of The Nothing.

When Glenn Beck says to take children out of public schools he is saying the same thing that I have been saying and for the same reasons.  However, it is not just collectivism that is the ultimate threat, but it is The Nothing that is behind the collectivism that we must fight against.  The way to beat The Nothing is with thought and independent values produced by a mind free of collectivism.  That was the lesson of The Never Ending Story which never does end.  We are living the story today as we have in the past and will in the future.  It never goes away; The Nothing will always seek to destroy mankind with the obscure allure of collectivism.  It takes an imagination to see the truth and understand the shape of The Nothing.  It also takes an imagination to apply thought and mythology to the legal world of the functioning adult which is what I spend a lot of time doing here at Overmanwarrior’s Wisdom.  Just because it is difficult for many to grapple with, does not mean the evil does not exist.  To stop that evil, every parent who claims to truly love their child should pull their children from public schools as soon as possible and find an alternative.  If parents do not do this, they will subject their children to a doomed life in service of The Nothing, which already holds the hearts and minds of 99.999999999999999999999% of the adult population.  Only a few—like Glenn Beck has managed to escape and report what is obvious to those not consumed by The Nothing—that public education is the vehicle that is used to destroy our children—and the problem is far bigger than most people are willing to accept.  But The Nothing still is there hunting us all for its collective consumption in a quest that will last all eternity if left unchecked.

It is because of what I have learned about public education that my feelings have evolved over time to seek answers for these modern problems in the myths that have built our society.  The logic of political life does not contain the answers—yet the childhood stories of our past contains the wisdom needed to understand the obscure problem of our present—why our children are growing ignorant over time instead of more intelligent and why our adults walk around like mindless zombies full of arrogance due to their years of exposure to The Nothing.  At golf courses they add up their scores over a day time beverage and whisk their children to and fro soccer practice thinking they are parents of the year—only to discover too late that they have delivered their children to the gates of doom.  The trivia of the adult, and school levy supporter who blindly believes that public education is the savior of society, are simply agents of The Nothing who reside behind all forms of collectivism and is instructed to our world population through public education universally committed to the kind of evil that only occupied the minds of childhood nightmares when the purity of youth could still tell the difference.

For the facts to sustain the assertions above click the link below:

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/03/07/cscope-exposing-the-nations-most-controversial-public-school-curriculum-system/

That is how bad the system is.  If you have a child in public school, they are being trained by those methods.  Every child in a school district is being exposed to these things, and it is our tax money from property values that pay for it.

Rich Hoffman

“If they attack first………..blast em’!”

www.tailofthedragonbook.com

‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ an unexpected TRIUMPH

I have been writing about The Hobbit movie and its December release for over a year now and I have been very excited for its long-awaited arrival in theaters.  My wife and I took my large family and some of their friends to see it during a prime time showing over the weekend, and before I get into any kind of review I need to provide some context.  Our society is changing rapidly, and not all of it is bad.  When religion was very strong in our society, it taught young and old alike about the nature of good and evil—which I spend a lot of time writing and thinking about.  But in 2012 in a quest that really started in 1977 with the first Star Wars film, it is clear that mythological values in our society has moved from books into many other visual formats that explore more deeply than ever the nature of evil, and the necessity of good.  I did not expect The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey to be over-the-top excellent.  I just expected it to be good and an enjoyable tribute to stories I have loved my entire lifetime.  As stated in previous articles here at the OW I have allowed myself to enjoy on many nights the words of J.R.R. Tokens’ many works by candlelight, or on a backyard porch under swift moving nighttime clouds next to a lantern.  So I have a passion already present for the material offered in The Hobbit.  Aside from that, I also followed closely the development of the film through the legal hurdles it had to pass in order to arrive in theaters under Peter Jackson’s direction, which for a long time I never thought would happen—because of the stunning success of The Lord of the Rings trilogy a decade ago.  So it was with some pent-up reverence that I took my family to the movies on December 15, 2012 and let me declare that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is an unexpected delight.  The Hobbit as a film is jaw-dropping great and filled to the absolute brim with passion, rich storytelling, and a fully flushed out journey into Middle-Earth that will change the lives of many people who see it for the better.  It is a stunningly fantastic movie—a cut from the tapestry of cinema that will set new heights of expectation from audiences permanently.  I did not think it was possible to make a movie version of The Hobbit that exceeded, or even matched the effort of Lord of the Rings—but Peter Jackson has been successful in that daunting task and then some.

The Hobbit is essentially a treasure hunt that is triggered when a dragon pushes a society of dwarves from their home in the Lonely Mountain.  Bilbo Baggins is recruited as a burglar/thief to penetrate the mountain and help remove the terrible dragon Smoug who is now residing there bathing his massive body in mountains of gold stolen from the dwarves.  I will admit that reviewers did discourage me a bit when they reported that Warner Brothers had pushed Jackson into stretching the 300-page book of The Hobbit which is a kid’s book into three—three hour films, and that the first half of An Unexpected Journey was boring.  For such reviewers, I can only say that they have become spoiled brats, and the action of The Hobbit was very intense at the end making the rather story driven beginning seem like a very different movie.  But the beauty is that Jackson was able to make The Hobbit into a better story then the actual book was—which is almost never the case—without violating the literary material of Tolkien at all.    Only under Peter Jackson’s direction could this have been done with such a close association with Lord of the Rings as The Hobbit takes place 60 years before the Rings films.  The beginning is only boring compared to a very intense ending—more intense than any movie I can remember seeing—and I’ve seen most of them.

For me personally, I found the deep secrets and constant references to an evil that is slowly seething up into Middle-Earth to be fascinating in reference to the events of Lord of the RingsThe Hobbit takes the time to show how the seeds of evil are actually planted and how slowly over time they can emerge right under the noses of some of the wisest minds.  In The Hobbit it is the wizard Gandalf who looks like a crazed fool in comparison to his mentor Sauruman the White Wizard, Elrond the Lord of Rivendell, and Galadriel co-ruler of Lothlórien.  Gandalf in a scene that was one of my favorites attempts to tell these leaders of Middle-Earth of his devious plot to rid the Lonely Mountain of the dragon, but also to combat a seething evil that is emerging slowly in the cracks of society.  It was my favorite scene in the film because I feel a lot like Gandalf in real life uttering the same kinds of warnings, schemes and mechanisms that I have involved myself in only to have a White Wizard type politician declare—“show me the proof of these allegations.”  Evil does not grow within the honesty of critical assessment, and nobody but Gandalf and Galadriel can even remotely see it.  Of course, we know that Gandalf was right and that 60 years later that evil will have arrived fully in Middle-Earth in the events of Lord of the Rings.  In An Unexpected Journey Gandalf sees the evil before everyone else, and must face that realization alone—which is realistically, often the case.

In many ways Peter Jackson has done with The Hobbit what George Lucas did with the prequels of Star Wars and that is to pull back wide on Middle-Earth to tell of the events that led up to the Academy Award winning movies that were previously done.  But Jackson has not violated the original Tolkien material to perform the task, he’s only added to it with previously unrelated Tolkien material about Middle-Earth which led to controversy with some critics.  Usually in novel translations things get left out of a movie version of a great book.  It is not often—if ever that things that were not specifically in the source novel find their way into the film version without deviating away from the source, but following it sincerely.  This is what Jackson has done, and he did an absolutely marvelous job of it.  Literally breath-taking in just how spectacular of a job he did—if viewers thought that Middle-Earth had been adequately flushed out in the Lord of the Rings films, The Hobbit will prove that there is much more to explore, and it is an exciting adventure all its own.

I am an old fan of these types of stories, and it is hard to impress me.  But—The Hobbit impressed me in every category, music, visual effects, character development, mythological significance, plot validation; The Hobbit is successful in every single category of filmmaking splendor.  And the characters go through one cliffhanger after another in some of the most astonishing conflicts that have ever taken place between characters on a movie screen.  There is nothing like The Hobbit that has ever been done in any film to date.  Many of the sequences step up and over Lord of the Rings in sheer brutality, and cinematic effectiveness.  If the Academy Awards snub this film because of internal Hollywood politics, it will be a shame—because The Unexpected Journey deserves the same kind of respect that Return of the King garnered.  This first Hobbit film is simply that good.

I could write on about this movie for thousands of pages, and still not get out everything I want to say—so do yourself a favor and go see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and enjoy the adventure of a lifetime.   As Gandalf tells Bilbo in the film, “if you take this adventure you will never be the same again”—so to, will audience members never be quiet the same after seeing the first movie of a three-part Hobbit series.  I am riveted now waiting for the second addition to this excellent film series titled The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug which will be entirely about the slaying of the terrible dragon that is guarding the gold in the Lonely Mountain.  In the meantime, I think my wife and I will go see The Unexpected Journey about 19,000 more times.  Enjoy! 

Rich Hoffman

www.tailofthedragonbook.com

  

Doc Thompson Fights for Detroit: Michigan becomes a Right-to-Work State

The biggest mistake that all organized labor advocates make is that they believe collective bargaining is a viable device for gaining wages, which it is not. From the employer’s point of view, wages are the way employers can motivate the best and brightest of their work force to excel, which ultimately sifts the bad workers from the good, the lazy from the ambitious.  In the game of football and other sports, there is a tryout process, and players that excel because of their skill and ambition are the ones who often end up making the most money.  Collective bargaining destroys this entire discovery endeavor.  It imposes upon the revenue generating entity an equal distribution of wages that all the employees do not deserve, because not all employees perform equally.  It is this very economic misconception that has destroyed the economy of Detroit, and is why the city is considering Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy protection after years of gradual decline.  The city was built by the car industry, and the unions killed the car making business in Detroit.  To understand why, just read Atlas Shrugged written in 1957 for the long answer.  Here is a USA Today article on the issue.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/12/10/march-toward-bankruptcy-detroit/1758305/

It was good to see my old friend Doc Thompson who is now doing radio in Detroit acting as he did when he was in Cincinnati and that is pointing out where the discrepancy is in perception between public sector unions and economic reality.  As Michigan has looked at Detroit and learned some hard lessons, they have come to realize that the best way to bring business back to the state is by passing right-to-work legislation as Indiana has, and Wisconsin.  As predicted the unions have taken to the streets in an all out assault to defend their legal rights to loot and pillage from the American tax payer.  Doc had some wonderful appearances on the Kudlow Report on CNBC talking about this very volatile issue.

 

When Doc was in Cincinnati as a radio personality he hosted a debate between factions involving Ohio’s Senate Bill 5 which was in essence an attempt to make public unions a right-to-work option, which of course the unions attacked heavily out of fear that if employees had the freedom to join a union without coercion, that most employees would elect to not pay the union dues—which is all the unions really care about.  The money they make off union dues gives them lobby power over politics.  Doc handled the radical crowd fairly.  CLICK HERE FOR A REVIEW.  I was a much bigger supporter of Senate Bill 5 than Doc was at the time because I saw it as a chance to take control of our local government politics away from public sector unions—which was essential to keeping taxes minimized.  But now that Doc is in Detroit, he can see clearly what the unions have done to that once great city, and he has stepped up to the front line to fight the parasite that the unions have made of themselves at the expense of South Michigan’s entire economy.

The villain of Detroit is the labor unions that are rooted in communism that is forced upon employers with “collective bargaining.”  Labor unions controlling management that are in the business of making goods like cars, cans of beer, and paper find that through “collective bargaining” the cost matrix of operating a business pushes up their labor costs way too much for a business to properly function, so the business locates to a state, or a country where they can control their labor costs.  Labor union’s answer to this trend is to spread communism to every corner of the world so that businesses have nowhere to go and thus no option but to pay employees through “collective bargaining” extraordinarily high wages that most of them do not deserve.  This is why public schools are failing, because bad teachers and good teachers all make the same amount of money no matter what they do, so failure is incentivized.  Businesses, like sports and other entertainment have survived under high organized labor costs because the public has so far supported the extraordinary mark-ups in the product to subsidize the collective bargaining impact.  But even those industries are about 10 years away from total collapse of their profit profiles.  Movie actors are paid too much as ticket prices at the box office have capped out, which will lead to a recession in the movie business.  And sports franchises are hitting the same cap, the public can’t afford in general to spend more than $200 for a football game so the profit matrixes for the NFL are about to hit a brick wall as well.  But that brick wall hit Detroit many years ago as companies like Toyota, and Honda have made better cars cheaper than the union wages of Detroit, leading to a collapse of that industry.

Michigan will be a right-to-work state, and Ohio will follow shortly thereafter.  They will become freedom to work states because the economy demands these actions.  Anything else leads to direct socialism, which will choke off the economy and send too many American citizens to welfare programs to survive, which will collapse the GDP of our nation, so there isn’t a choice.  The only fools who haven’t received the memo are the union workers who want to believe that pixy dust will save their hides from their own stupidity—and the Keynesian economics that politicians like Barack Obama subscribe to, which is destroying the economy of Europe presently, will have to be abandoned.  These are facts that cannot be ignored, even though all politicians who cozy up to organized labor practices “evasion” in denying the facts of economic reality.

No economy can flourish if the potential for profit from the job creators is taken away, and labor unions take away from management the tools designed to produce wealth.  Once a company loses its ability to manage their costs, and can no longer raise their price to off-set the labor costs, they have no choice but to file bankruptcy, or move their business to a more business friendly environment.  However, in the case of Detroit, the entire city cannot just pick up and move, it will simply fail, and become part of a long list of once thriving areas that prospered economically for a time, then failed under their own stupidity.  Detroit will join cities such as the Native American city of Cahokia, the mysterious, Teotihuacan, or Ankor Wat all which found their previous flourishing economic periods erode away due to droughts, disease, poor crop yields, or just political corruption which had the city of Chichen Itza on decline before the Spanish ever set foot on the Yucatan Peninsula.  Detroit is failing because it cannot manufacture goods to export, and people are abandoning the city because there are no jobs, and those jobs where ran out-of-town because of labor unions.  The economic failure is unlike those other ancient cities.  Detroit is a victim of self-imposed greed, and lack of proper economic understanding.  I feel honored to know Doc Thompson personally and see that he is still fighting for what’s right, even when it might otherwise be unpopular, or socially unfashionable.  The fix to Detroit’s problems, or America’s are not to glaze over the obvious economic facts of organized labor failures, but to fix the problem before one of America’s once great cities becomes only a distant memory.  Right-to-work cannot come soon enough for the poor state of Michigan.

Read more at the link below:

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/angry-union-protesters-shout-down-tea-partiers-in-michigan-and-state-rep-tweets-violent-threat/

Rich Hoffman

www.tailofthedragonbook.com

  

IAFF Supports Obama and his Intellectual Superior Joe Biden: What Issue 7 in Mason is all about

If you pay tax money to a public worker, especially firefighters, you are sending some of your money to the socialist Obama and his intellectual superior, Joe Biden, because the communist oriented International Association of Firefighters Union supports those kinds of politicians. Union employees who get their lush salaries from tax payers often convert their money into political power that often works against the public who may resent having their money spent on politicians that do not reflect their politics. Look at the latest IAFF union ad against Mitt Romney then read below how much money these same employees make and what kind of political tricks they are using to secure those wages into the future. Then tell me that they are really concerned as they report in this video below that “they care about their neighbors.” What they really mean is that they are actually well paid mercenaries—there’s a big difference.

The trouble with public workers like teachers, firefighters and police are that we have allowed radicalism from the union ranks to prevent the management of those labor costs. It is now considered taboo to even discuss intelligently the financial value of these employees because they involve the safety and well-being of our youth and our elderly with protective services. However, some have challenged these notions and made political ground that is snow balling the other way. The great weakness of the labor union argument against public sector workers is the justification for their enormous salaries which have greatly outpaced private sector incomes by more than double in some cases. Now that voters realize this discrepancy the tide is changing. Levies have not passed for schools, and recently police and fire levies have began to fail—halting the insane progress of public sector wages skyrocketing without end.

Recognizing the public push-back against public sector workers, but still wishing to keep political peace with the unions, the City Council members of Mason, Ohio have proposed a ballot initiative called Issue 7 which creates a new method of funding for safety, fire, and EMS services. The great concern for these council members is that their fire department will be coming off a 5-year property tax that expires in 2013. The Mason School System is also considering a levy in 2013 leaving politicians very concerned that the tax increases will not be passed for both issues, because there is great risk that neither will be passed. Many political insiders are praying to the presidential gods that Mitt Romney will be elected so the economy will stabilize and voters will once again have extra money to throw at altruistic causes. Others in the unions hope that Obama will retain power and continue to loot from the rich so that he will give to the middle-class—the labor unions of the proletariat. But there is big trouble on the horizon in Mason that the City Council wishes to avoid with Issue 7.

Issue 7 is a potential tax on every property owner in Mason. The current effective millage rate for Mason is 4.4 mils under the current tax levy. A new levy, voted in at 5.0 Mils, gives council the right to charge the property owners of Mason a full 5.0 Mils – which would be a tax increase. But, they can shift that burden over to the non-property non-voting individuals of the Mason Community with an Income Tax levy, and reduce the property tax millage based on any difference – or they could max out both the new income tax and the property tax. Basically, should this pass, they can do either, or both – without your vote. Issue 7 is a permanent levy that allows council to get the money they need with a vote instead of having to go back to voters during contentious future elections that are on the horizon.

This is a problem because it does not address the outrageous wages that the public sector workers in the loosely defined safety professions charge for their services. The way that Issue 7 is written safety could mean anything from additional police services to raises for firefighters—which on the surface seems practical, even attractive, until the reality of the situation is examined. Firefighter wages in Mason from 2000 to 2009 (most recent comparatives) rose 29.20% – a more than 10% rise above inflation and more than 21% greater increase than Ohio Median Household Incomes. The Business Owners, Employees, and Property Owners footing the bill for these services, in many cases have lost jobs and/or have not seen a pay increase for years. The average working wage in Warren County in 2011 was $791 per week, or $41,132.00 per year (United Sates Dept. of Labor) – and that has slipped even farther recently: Median Income in Ohio hits 27-year lows – http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2011/09/14/median-income-in-ohio-hits-27-year-low.html

In Mason a fire department with an annual budget of close to $6 million dollars of which over 83% goes to wages and benefits, includes:

Fire Chief – Annual Compensation Package – $171,328.00
Deputy Fire Chiefs (5) – Annual Compensation Package- $114,000.00
Fire Lieutenants (6) – Annual Compensation Package – $103,000.00
Firefighter/Paramedic (22) Annual Compensation Package – $91,000.00
Assorted part-time and full-time positions at a cost of approx. $930,000

The trouble with Issue 7 is that it avoids dealing with the decision of continuing the practice of paying safety employees the kind of wages seen above, and deciding whether or not 5 Deputy Chiefs are even needed at a cost of over $500,000. Instead, Issue 7 allows city council to increase taxes to make the problem go away without having to go to the voters for a fire levy that competes with a school levy for voter approval. The wording of the Proposed Charter Amendment specifically states “for Safety, Fire, and EMS” – leaving an opening for spending under the “Safety” language that could mean anything. Again, an issue that could cause future problems should the governing bodies determine safety to mean stop signs, traffic signals, police needs, water & sewer, etc.

To learn more about all the reasons voters in Mason should vote against Issue 7 the website http://www.voteno7.com/ will do the job. But for those outside of Mason who are facing similar issues, it is important to watch closely the tricks of your public officials who are looking for a way out of the corner they have painted themselves in to. They have allowed for too many years unionized public workers to give themselves pay increases at the expense of tax payers not only for a fair wage, but an excessively wealthy wage that far outpaces reality. I have no doubt in my mind that there is a value of having teachers care for children all though I’d argue that they are teaching them the wrong things, and it is nice to have paramedics and police to help keep things socially in check. But they are not worth twice as much as the average employee who is paying their wages. Mason is a wealthy area to live and their average resident wage is $41,132.00. Deputy Fire Chiefs and Fire Lieutenants are not worth six figure incomes. It may be possible to have one or two of those positions filled but not 5 to 6 in a single community. These are the problems caused by collective bargaining agreements that inflate the wage levels of public workers to insane levels, and must be pulled back into reality, and such things will never happen if tax payers throw money at those positions without doing the hard act of managing the costs with a NO vote.

Dear reader, as you head to the voting booth on November 6th keep these things in mind. Voting to not take responsibility for the outrageous costs of public employees will not solve the problem and that is what proposals like Issue 7 try to do. They are attempting to sneak a tax increase under the door by taking away a contentious levy in the future by voting for giving the ability to city council today. And such a trick must not be allowed to be played on the taxpayers. And they will be played until voters stop allowing them to happen with across the board NO votes.

(Oh–and for those union workers who think they are flag waving patriots fighting for America learn your history.  If you are in a union, you support communism, (progressive politics) especially if it is attached to the AFL-CIO.  CLICK HERE for the history you didn’t know, and chose to ignore because your pay was so enticing.)

Rich Hoffman

www.tailofthedragonbook.com

 

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‘Tail of the Dragon’ Interview on the Doc Thompson Show: Detroit is a “WAR ZONE.”

“Tail of the Dragon is a cross between Smokey and the Bandit, and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” That’s what I told Doc Thompson during his 1270 AM radio show in Detroit during the interview that can be heard below at the link. Doc Thompson and I go back a few years, and have fought many school levy battles and public union campaign issues on the airwaves of radio. Doc had me on to discuss a new crisis that is going on in Detroit where the police presence is advocating its support of Proposal 2, which is a state constitutional change to guarantee collective bargaining rights for public employees. Ironically this is one of the major villains that have wrecked the economy of Detroit leaving the town a devastated “war zone.” My visit to the Doc Thompson Show came on the heels of a police union stunt headed by Joe Duncan who had 400 of his officers passing out fliers to fans of the Tigers first playoff game against the Oakland A’s, declaring the city unsafe for entry. Doc and I had seen this kind of behavior before with Senate Bill 5 in Ohio during 2011, and it just so happened that this kind plot line matched the story of my new book.

On the flier Joe Duncan and his officers declared “Enter Detroit at Your Own Risk,” as fans poured into Comerica Park. “Detroit is America’s most violent city and the city’s police force is grossly understaffed.” The intention of the fliers was the old fear game that all public unions use to advance their cause—which is not safety, but financial security. Unions on the backs of the unwitting participants such as Duncan and his officers are caught up in a plot to hatch communism in America designed long ago, and has been gradually accepted over a long period of time using fear tactics of terrorism to advance their agenda. The protesting police officers don’t care about the history of communism. They are working a dangerous job, and they simply want to get paid as much as they can for doing that job. From their perspective it’s only fair. But what they don’t understand, or have the historical background to decipher is the communist infiltration in America during the Red Decade of the 1930’s brought labor unions and collective bargaining ideas to the closest thing of pure capitalism ever known in the world and corrupted it with the taint of collectivism.

Proposition 2 in Michigan is attempting to go the opposite way as Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana who are all working to reform their public unions from extortive control over public services. Seeing the writing on the wall, the Michigan public unions are seeking to protect themselves from these changes by putting “collective bargaining” into the state constitution, which is why the police were at the Tiger’s playoff game looking for sympathy and votes for Proposition 2. They want to ensure that collective bargaining is in place for their entire careers, because it represents why they got into public service in the first place—because the money is great and the retirements come early and is profitable. But what they don’t know is that collective bargaining is the direct result of the Bolshevik Revolution started in Russia in 1917 and is a product of communism. Most likely the police passing out fliers at the baseball game have never heard of a Bolshevik let alone read the Ayn Rand classic about the start of communism in Petrograd from her novel We The Living. I would doubt they read a TV Guide let alone a 75-year-old novel that describes why the police are the modern-day pawns of the communism movement in America.

Detroit is not dangerous because of the amount of police there are. Detroit could hire a 1000 police and they still could not stop all the crime that is happening there. What is happening to Detroit is the same thing that has destroyed the Soviet Union and is currently destroying China. It’s the same thing that has wrecked the economies of Greece, Spain and is about to push France under—which is the influence of Socialist International as a political party advocating a world-wide push toward global communism. In the past Detroit had too many labor unions, so the business left to manufacture in regions where the labor is cheaper. Taxes are too high, there are too many public housing developments, there is simply too much government involvement. Detroit is a victim of socialism and the destructive experiments of communism coming out of the Red Decade. It is those policies of social engineering that had destroyed the Motor City which once boasted a thriving economy into the crime ridden battleground that it is today. It is those same policies that created collective bargaining and a gradual acceptance of communist thought in America hidden on the backs of trusted public sector workers like firefighters, cops and teachers. The blueprint for this Trojan horse of communism in America was outlined in the book We The Living published in 1936 and Detroit is the result of the communist attempt in America.

This was all predicted by Richard Cloward, which I discussed in my book Tail of the Dragon using the fictional Governor Wellington Royce to pontificate the frustrations that many progressives feel to this very day, which is people have unpredictably voted with their feet. Cloward wished to collapse capitalism in the 1960’s in favor of a communist insurrection by toppling the American economy that was overwhelmed with welfare demands. In Detroit, as in every major city in the United States with the exception of New York and Los Angeles, the people with money did as the producers in the book Atlas Shrugged did; they left and took their money with them when taxes became too high. When the money and businesses that made the money left Detroit because of the unions, both public and private, the high taxes, the government bureaucracies, it left Detroit with only the poor government dependents to pay into the tax base draining the city budgets, and crime has exploded as a result. These are hard concepts to discuss which is why I placed them into the context of a very intense story in my book Tail of the Dragon. Detroit is only the most obvious victim of these progressive policies that have masked the intentions of communist infiltration in America.

Detroit is in trouble today because they let themselves be seduced by the fear mongering of many public workers like Joe Duncan in the past, which used fear the same way that a terrorist does, to change social behavior. The crime is high in Detroit because the productive people who created jobs and made all the money in the city left, only to leave the weak to fend for themselves on government programs in perpetual need of more money from a tax base no longer present. Joe Duncan and his officers only want to get paid, because their union has made promises to them that they accepted as an American idea, even though collective bargaining was born in Petrograd, Russia at the start of the communist revolution that began in 1917. The result of such communist dreams is the condition of present day Detroit.

The best thing that Detroit could do for itself is to rid itself of public unions, collective bargaining, and lower tax rates so businesses might wish to return. Detroit needs to create economic stimulation so that the poor and jobless can have a job and become a part of the free enterprise system and force government to get out of the compassion business. Compassion cannot be created by government or enforced through force, and that is at the heart of collective bargaining. It is only good for the recipients of a government pay check. It is treacherous for those who have to actually pay the bill. With that said the worst thing Michigan could do in this upcoming election is vote in favor of Proposition 2. Voters in that “dangerous” city will have to take a hard-line in the sand and stick to it if they wish to save their city. No amount of tax money, police hires, or increases in government welfare can save them from the Cloward strategy that bankrupted their city for aims that are foreign to most Americans. The only way to save Detroit is by voting NO on all tax increases, and expansion of government services, especially those involving collective bargaining.

Rich Hoffman

Tail of the Dragon

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