Defending the Cincinnati Zoo: Raw footage of the gorilla attack and the reason it had to be killed

I wasn’t going to say anything about this because I love the Cincinnati Zoo and it was really difficult for them to have to shoot one of their prime gorillas when a four-year old boy fell down into their very nice exhibit over Memorial Day weekend.  Unfortunately most of the news outlets did not show how violent the gorilla had been to the little boy cutting out the harshest moments.  At times the gorilla looked to be protective of the child, and he likely was.  But, things can turn nasty in a moment and anybody who knows anything about animals like these types of gorillas understands that once a human being is in a closed exhibit with a much stronger creature that trouble is highly probable.  So here is the original footage to add context to the situation.

The Cincinnati Zoo is one of the best in the world and I commend the team on staff who had to make an incredibly difficult decision that will cost them greatly.  I don’t blame the mother, I don’t blame the kid, and I certainly don’t blame the zoo.  It was just something that happens and the value of such zoo exhibits are worth the danger.  It is really our responsibility as a human species to respect the dangerous tendency of all animals and not to provoke them.  Below is another example of an aggressive gorilla at another exhibit which might better explain why the Cincinnati Zoo felt they needed to act so quickly.  Notice that when the child beats on its chest in the reflection on the window glass, the gorilla took that as a challenge and attacked the glass—cracking it.

Here is the same exhibit where the same two gorillas got into a sudden fight in front of the spectators.  Listen to the stupid comments of the visitors.  The best thing a zoo can do is protect everyone the best they can and use the profit generated to help save more animals around the world.  For the best experience, zoos try very hard to put visitors as close to the natural habitat of the animals.   But danger is inherit, and that slight threat should always be present in the back of our minds while visiting.   Sometimes in Sea World when dealing with killer whales, people get killed.  And sometimes when dealing with dangerous gorillas bad things happen.

However, it’s important to have these exhibits for both the animals and the humans who visit so that our species can learn something from them.  They need our protection and we need to understand their nature.  When bad things happen, we all need to shrug it off and get to the next day.  The best thing you could do dear reader is to support your local zoo for the service they provide.  And if you live in Cincinnati like I do, make sure to throw a little money in their direction every now and then.  They are some of the best in the business and losing a gorilla is a great loss to them—and they need your support, not your criticism.  Zoos aren’t day cares.  They need to be respected as well as enjoyed.  So treat them that way and visit the Cincinnati Zoo as often as you can.

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.

Cliffhanger’s Exopolitical Theater: Giants, a galactic alliance, and human immortality coming to ‘The Curse of Fort Seven Mile’

While I was on the air with Matt Clark during his WAAM radio broadcast recently he wanted me to talk a bit about my latest Curse of Fort Seven Mile series.  However, time ran out and we couldn’t get into the details.  Actually, I don’t think I could cover all the details in an hour show, or a 10 hour show.  For me, what started as a simple pulp fiction series has evolved into something I would term as a philosophy for the 22nd century.  The below videos will help with the context but essentially what I’m doing is this: over the next one hundred years we are going to discover that we are not alone in the solar system, let alone the galaxy.  We will learn to defy death.  We will unlock all the potentials of a Type 1 civilization and that will require us to completely revisit our current political and religious philosophies—because the present ones just won’t be sufficient.  That’s not a knock on anybody, but the discoveries of the next century will just unlock a massive amount of potential that isn’t even forecasted on the horizon as of yet—and people will need some means of thinking about those things if they want to survive.

I have been pretty adamant about my hobbies and positions.  I essentially grew up studying mythologies and religious cultures, but I like to make money, so I chose professional endeavors that I could raise a family on—but there is a lot about me that is very sympathetic to the Nathan Drake video game character.  The people I most admire these days are people like Josh Gates and his friend Erin Ryder.  If I did not love family as much as I do, I would have loved to live the life that they have—and believe me I have no regrets.  But I do read and watch a lot of what those fantastic people have put out as far as discovery over the years.  When they tackle some crypto mystery much of it comes out to nothing, but it’s the asking of the questions that I find absolutely amazing.  There are a lot of people, many whom are featured in these videos who have committed enormous amounts of time and resources to asking hard questions about mankind’s origins—and I’ll be honest—I love each and every one of them.  When I listen to their lectures and read their books I think in the best case scenarios, they may be getting 50% of any given idea correct.  But even 1% of what these people are saying they are major game changers for the entire human race and the world at large.

In spite of my love of guns, capitalism, business entrepreneurial activity, innovation and pop culture, I am most at home with books, museums, and very smart people.  One of my best friends growing up had an IQ of around 170 so I know those types of people excessively well, and I love being around them.  Some of the people in these videos like Steve Quayle remind me of that friend.  They are too smart for mainstream society, and they are usually defined as lunatics by a society which embraces too openly—sheer stupidity.  As long as I’ve been on earth, I have asked similar hard questions and sought the answers and I have a general theory about the reason that ancient cultures collapse—actually all cultures including recent ones.  I published my thesis in a screenplay, which won a few awards along the way called The Lost Cannibals of Cahokia.  While most archaeologists and anthropologists will point to environmental conditions and say that the reason that a culture fails is related to a loss of water, or of food supply—usually those opinions are corrupted by their left leaning educations.  My theory is that cultures fail because of the human inclination to the Vico cycle—where they just can’t seem to get off the treadmill—and they have been like that for their entire existence.  That screenplay would probably make a good movie and I should probably push it more toward production—and maybe I will.  My goal in writing it was to get the thesis down in an entertaining way that people could enjoy—but come away from the story asking hard questions like—what is the primary driver of a successful culture—then offering the answer as the climax amid the usual expectations of exciting storytelling.  After I shopped that script around it became obvious that I’d have to produce the picture myself to do it right, and honestly, I didn’t have the time or patience to “collaborate” the way it takes to make a movie.  So I shelved it and offered it as a legitimate thesis about the rise and fall of civilizations.  On the surface, it was an action adventure horror story, underneath was something that meant a lot to me which was based on many thousands of hours of reading and personal discovery—traveling all over the world checking things out for myself—a little the way Josh Gates has—only with fewer frequent flyer miles.

Lately, there has been an explosion, likely because of the Internet, of conspiracy theories and examinations into a hidden past that does not agree with the Leaky evolutionary theories.  The latest revisions are probably driven more by Jurassic Park’s DNA examples and the popular Lord of the Rings movies about Middle Earth—art has helped our society ask new questions from a fresh perspective—and the answers to those questions might just be explosive.  If only 1% is true, mankind is in for some startling revelations.  The best movies and books are the ones that make you ask, “what if,” and as the videos included here surmise, there are some very smart people who are asking lots of questions tainted by their personal backgrounds.  But it is what they agree on that has stimulated my thinking and focused my mind on the hard evidence that is rapidly pouring in.

I wanted to write another Cliffhanger novel but I wanted it to be relevant to the world 100 years from now the way I read Jules Verne, Ayn Rand, H.P. Lovecraft or even Shakespeare.  My favorite play of his is Titus Andronicus.   His use of extreme violence to tell the moral story of love and loss—as well as dedication are the kinds of things I find infinitely fascinating and it doesn’t matter when in history we read such a story—they still communicate a truth which is valuable.  Having these kinds of interests I couldn’t just write some average piece of fiction reviewers of today would like—I wanted to write something that people a century from now would marvel at and would still draw inspiration from.  Yet I also wanted to make the argument that the values America had from around 1870 to about 1900 were the best the world had ever seen, and that those values should be captured in a bottle and examined in actually a scientific way—as having merit on culture building itself.  The economic means of the country was explosive during that period, morality was respectable, and collectivism was being defeated wherever it was encountered—namely during westward expansion.

For about forty years I have had in my mind a really terrible antagonist and a concept for painting it into a story against the ultimate protagonist—but I needed to collect a lot of information to tell that story.  Finally, I feel like I’m there.  Once I had all the details worked out, I went to work writing it—and as I thought, it has turned out to be the byproduct of a hyperactive imagination, a technical background, legitimate scientific investigation and all the life experience learned in every hard way imaginable.

Knowing that over the next couple decades history will have to reflect what we are learning now—and that we will learn that not only are we not alone, but that we are currently in a relationship with thinking beings not from earth’s origin story and that the essential ingredient to a successful society resides within individual behavior as opposed to collective salvation—and that once that process begins—where democracies run by a mob take over the individual input of actual leaders—that all civilizations stop functioning and regress back to their beginnings.

Even as my protagonist, Cliffhanger fights bad guys with flaming bullwhips all in the name of justice—it is important these days to define the merits of that justice.  It is not enough to simply show bad and good—it has to be defined by actual universal rules of engagement as defined by the observable conditions of our cosmos.  To do that we have to step beyond our veil of politics and modern philosophy and take the next step.  Taking that step is what and why I’m committing so much time to this new Cliffhanger story.  Similarly to that Cannibals of Cahokia story—this Curse of Fort Seven Mile has the benefit of an additional twenty years of hard living and earned observation.  Like H.P. Lovecraft I have a love for pulp fiction written in a romantic fashion—and on the surface that is what these new Cliffhanger stories are.  But, my protagonist, Fletcher Finnegan in The Curse of Fort Seven Mile is actually named after one of my favorite literary figures of all time, the giant in Finnegan’s Wake from the James Joyce classic.  My goals with the work are not to reach the New York Best Seller’s list, or even to get reviews from Publisher’s Weekly.  It is to offer a useful philosophy for people grappling with real significant challenges to everything they believed was true for over 10,000 years and to provide them a softer landing philosophically—so to maybe for the first time in human history to provoke a change in mankind’s propensity to always revert back to the Vico cycle.  Thus Spoke Cliffhanger.

If you want a preview of this work they are available on the sidebar.  But the real meat is yet to come and why I am dedicating some specific time and resources to completing it.  To get a sense of it, just watch all these videos and you’ll get your mind ready to read what I’m putting into a story intended for readers of the next century.  I’m not giving up on politics.  But rather it is too small of a shoe for me now.  The next obvious evolution is exopolitical theater and the vast changes it will bring.  Currently it is a bit on the fringe side, but that will change rapidly—and when it does–well, people will want a point of reference and fiction is a good place to begin—by bridging what we know with what we will come to understand.

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.

Life on the Moon: The ancient past and modern activity of alien life above our heads

I don’t say things until I’ve considered the evidence intently and one of the reasons I’ve been most insistent to write The Curse of Fort Seven Mile with an emphasis of late is because of a realization that I’ve discovered through quite a lot of research.  These rumors of some type of life on the Moon of our earth have some weight to them.  From the 1976 book written by George Leonard Somebody Else Is on the Moon (linked below) compelling evidence from actual NASA photographs open the topic profoundly.  It’s an expensive book to get, but well worth it.  Additionally I think it is the remarks of the astronauts who have actually walked on the moon, people like Edger Mitchell and Buzz Aldren who have provided such virtuous testimony—some intentionally, some not so much so.  The evidence points more to the fact that there are constructions on the moon that shouldn’t be there and that there is presently, or has been, an alien race active on its surface.  If you can’t afford the old Leonard book feel free to watch these following videos for some supportive evidence to the fact.

http://www.amazon.com/Somebody-Else-Moon-Artifacts-Leonard/dp/1499250797/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1462071157&sr=1-2&keywords=ulos+unidentified+lunar+objects

One of my first big memories as a kid was visiting the Neal Armstrong museum at Wapakoneta, Ohio while my family went on a trip to Put-in-Bay—I was around four years old.  Years after that, my class went on a field trip to the museum there while in grade school and I oddly enough remembered  most everything because I had been there before.  I was the kid who always read the literature on the exhibits, so I felt very much at home compared to the other kids who had seen the place for the first time.  Armstrong was a professor at the University of Cincinnati—which was in my hometown and his life occurred very much around me—and I was aware of that growing up.  Aviation was born around me as well, so I’ve always taken some pride in the Wright Brothers and old test pilots like Neal Armstrong who was obviously the first person to walk on the moon—at least that we know of.  What always bothered me about Armstrong was that he had turned inward after the experience.  He wasn’t like Buzz Aldren—Armstrong didn’t relish the celebrity of being the first man on the moon—he had a secret which he avoided talking about and obviously took to his death.

Given Armstrong’s Midwestern roots, I think the guy didn’t like lying to people about what he saw on the moon when NASA switched to a private broadcast while he and Buzz were standing on the surface in July of 1969.  I was one year old at the time and my parents were standing me up in front of the television to see the event.  All I remember of the occurrence was the shape of the ship and the sounds of the transmissions which I recognized at the museum years later in Wapakoneta.  I didn’t understand the context at the time, but the layers of memory solidified it in my thinking for years to come.  While everyone was impressed that mankind was standing on the moon, Armstrong had confirmed much of what NASA wanted to see, which wasn’t filmed with cameras that were made public.  We were not alone—not by a long shot—and it haunted him for the rest of his life—apparently.

I’ve talked about the moon before, there are several things not right with it—it’s a little too perfectly positioned and it is locked in a type of orbit around the earth that never shows its far side.  That is a little weird as well.  And apparently on the far side there are even more strange photographs of things that should not be there if Neil Armstrong was truly the first life form to ever walk on the surface.  This of course has led to a lot of speculation through science fiction but those entries into are rooted in fact.  For me the most compelling evidence is that we have not returned—and neither has any other country.  The technology is clearly available to us now, yet we aren’t going back after those initial Apollo missions.  Some of the astronauts involved in the Apollo missions are now very supportive of alien life in space even if they do preserve their disclosures agreements with NASA which is after all a government agency which thinks it knows best how to preserve the religions and social order of the society it is supposed to serve.

Just a few miles south of where the Wright Brothers ran their bicycle shop which invented aviation the bones of an undocumented giant species of man was found in Miamisburg—one very large skeleton at a gravel quarry near the Great Miami River and the other under a large tree which was uprooted at a farm which bordered the mysterious Miamisburg mound complex.  Strangely enough, Hanger 18 which housed the wreckage of the Roswell crash was also nearby and to prevent proper excavation of the Miamisburg site by archaeologists and anthropologists a nuclear weapon facility was built on the land called Mound Laboratories.  That certainly stopped any real research into the region by credentialed scientists.  I currently live on the banks of the Great Miami River south of that Miamisburg site, so all these conspiracy stories have been with me for my entire life—and nobody wants to give any real answers to the probing questions—which feeds the conspiracies.   My conclusion is that there is much more to the story which is why everyone is so tight lipped.  The authorities in this case would rather not confirm or deny—they’d just prefer to avoid the topic.  But the evidence is rather compelling–it’s is all around us—we just need to look at it.

Given all that evidence, it’s just a matter of time before we have to go to the moon and discover what NASA has been avoiding to tell us.  Private space companies are headed to the moon and within just a few years of now, there will be hotels on the surface—and by then we’ll learn the hard truth—it won’t be a secret any longer.  There is a presence of some life other than our own on the moon right now and they watch us from there for reasons that we’ll discover.  I would propose that it’s a kind of interplanetary base camp and they find our civilization interesting and likely some kind of social experiment that they check up on frequently.  Just yesterday I drove by the Serpent Mound site in eastern, Ohio and scientists are no closer to figuring out the reason for that strange mound than they were twenty years ago.  In fact, they have more questions now than answers.  If our science cannot figure out the meaning of things in our own back yards, then they surely aren’t prepared to deal with what’s on the surface of the moon—an entire celestial body that has not had any of its history covered yet by modern development.  It’s an open text-book of mankind’s past and whoever was a part of helping to shape it from inception.  And it floats there above our heads—all the answers we seek—yet we do not dare to uncover.  Actually, you and I might dear reader—but our governments want to hold onto their power for just a while longer.  The evidence is there for us to investigate and when we do we have a lot of hard questions to answer about ourselves.  Of course the first step will be in returning—and I can’t wait for that to occur.  I’d rather know the truth than live with illusions.

Europeans did not discover America–the giants in the Ohio mounds prove that.  They were in North America before there was ever an Indian or a Christopher Columbus voyage.  And we did not first walk on the moon.  Someone was there before us and they are still there. ………………………………

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.

‘Zorro’s Fighting Legion’: Celebrating Disney’s ‘The Lone Ranger’ with a tribute to Yakima Canutt

Many industry professionals have cautioned me that due to my Tea Party like beliefs, I will have limited opportunities to work in film, either in front of the camera as a whip consultant, as I have done a time or two, or behind the camera as a writer.  My specific attitude toward collective oriented labor unions is the nail in the coffin as today’s Hollywood for the most part has become an arm of the federal government, and the policies of statism advocated there.  But there are rare exceptions, and of late Warner Brothers with Legendary Pictures have produced fantastic films like Man of Steel and Dark Knight Rises, while Disney Studios is putting out pictures like Iron Man, the Avengers and now the upcoming The Lone Ranger.  It is the Lone Ranger that has me extremely excited because that character as I have mentioned before goes deep into my past.  I love the old versions of the Lone Ranger, the old Saturday morning serials that were recaptured by George Lucas when he made Star Wars and Indiana Jones.  I love the old serials so much that I have seen many of them, even though they are way before my time.  While they lack the polish and sophistication of modern films, they are filled with heart and soul.  Many of the film techniques used today in all the popular blockbusters were developed during the period of the popular Republic serials.  And of those serials there was none I love more than the 1939 series called Zorro’s Fighting Legion.

For readers of my novel The Symposium of Justice, I pay tribute to that 12 chapter serial in three different ways.  The first is that the character conflict of Fletcher Finnegan is much like the fight that Don Diego had with Don Del Oro in Zorro’s Fighting Legion.  I even went to the trouble of naming the antics of my protagonist in the novel Cliffhanger’s Fighting Legion.  The third is that the restaurant that Fletcher Finnegan worked at as a grill cook so that he could learn the movements of the towns politics behind the scenes was named Republics, after of course the company that produced Zorro’s Fighting Legion.  It was Zorro’s Fighting Legion that inspired me to take up the bullwhip to the extent that I have, and make it part of my life, almost as important to me as an arm or a leg on my body.  There is a lot of whip work in Zorro’s Fighting Legion and I wanted to learn every single trick, which I did.  I came to learn about Zorro’s Fighting Legion because I learned at age 12 while watching a documentary about the making of Raiders of the Lost Ark that the great stunt performed by Terry Lenard during the famous “Desert Chase” scene was first done by the great stuntman Yakima Canutt who I feel virtually built Hollywood on his back.  Without the great work of stuntmen like Yakima Canutt and Republic Pictures there would never have been a modern-day Star Wars, an Indiana Jones, or even movie versions of Man of Steel, Iron Man, or Dark Knight Rises.

Hollywood was not always liberal.  Communism slowly seeped into the Hollywood movie machines in the late 1930s during The Red Decade, but studios resisted.  Hollywood Black Friday is the name given, in the history of organized labor in the United States, to October 5, 1945. On that date, a six-month strike by the set decorators represented by the Conference of Studio Unions (CSU) boiled over into a bloody riot at the gates of Warner Brothers‘ studios in Burbank, California. The strikes helped the passage of the Taft-Hartley Act in 1947 and led to the eventual break up of the CSU and reorganization of the then rival International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) leadership. The Conference of Studio Unions was, at the time, an International union belonging to the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and represented the Carpenters, Painters, Cartoonists and several other crafts working for the Studios in Hollywood.

Seventy-seven set decorators broke away from IATSE to form the Society of Motion Picture Interior Decorators (SMPID) and negotiated an independent contract with the producers in 1937. The SMPID joined the CSU in 1943 and the CSU represented the SMPID in their contract negotiations. After the producers stalled the negotiations for nine months, IATSE questioned CSU jurisdiction over the Set Decorators which led to a further five-month delay as the CSU and IATSE fought over jurisdiction. When the Producers refused to acknowledge an independent arbitrator appointed by the War Labor Board‘s assessment that the CSU had jurisdiction over the Set Decorators in February 1945, it set the stage for the strike

By October, money and patience were running low as some 300 strikers gathered at Warner Brothers’ main gate on October 5, 1945. Temperatures were abnormally warm for the already hot LA autumn. When non-strikers attempted to report for work at 6:00 in the morning, the barricades went up and tensions flared. As replacement workers attempted to drive through the crowd, their cars were stopped and overturned.  Hollywood would never again be the same as a gradual erosion of value began to leave Hollywood projects as the labor unions were backed by communist sympathizers with eyes favoring the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Reinforcements arrived on both sides as the picket increased to some 1,000 people and Glendale and Los Angeles Police came to aid the Burbank Police and Warner Security attempting to maintain the peace. When more replacement workers attempted to break through to the gate, a general melee ensued as strikers mobbed them and strikebreakers responded by attacking the strikers with chains, hammers, pipes, tear gas, and night sticks. Warner security rained more tear gas down from the roofs of the buildings adjoining the entrance. Warner firefighters sprayed the strikers with fire hoses. By the end of the day, some 300 police and deputy sheriffs had been called to the scene and over 40 injuries were reported.

The picketers returned the following Monday with an injunction barring the police from interfering with the strike while Warner retaliated with its own injunction limiting the number of pickets at the gate. Although the violence would continue through the week, national exposure forced the parties back to the bargaining table and resulted in an end to the strike one month later but the CSU victory was a Pyrrhic one, where contentions over wording dictated by an AFL arbitration team would lead to further questioning as to CSU and IATSE jurisdiction on the set.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_Black_Friday

 

Zorro’s Fighting Legion was created during this turbulent period but was still free of unionized influence.  That makes it much more special to me for the sheer fact that the foundations of American story telling were built upon these Republic serials.  It was film projects like this one that helped slow the erosion of communism in America with the western that so proudly articulated American values of justice, and Zorro’s Fighting Legion is certainly that type of film collection.  I see the Republic serials as Hollywood’s response to the growing tension forming ahead of the Cold War between the communism of the Soviet Union and the capitalism of America.  The struggle of this philosophical debate is all over the story of Zorro’s Fighting Legion, and has resonated with me for decades.  One of the greatest days in my life was when the emergence of DVD technology allowed me to purchase the entire series to own for myself to watch over and over again, which has only been possible in recent years.  But even better than that, Zorro’s Fighting Legion is now available on YouTube, so to share this unique treasure with my readers here, and to share my vision of what Hollywood is all about in celebration of the upcoming Lone Ranger by Disney, please do enjoy all twelve episodes shown below.  They are kind of slow and boring compared to today’s entertainment, but try to watch them the way I do, for their purity of purpose, simplicity in design, and sheer bold stunt work by the great Yakima Canutt.  Mixed through the rest of the article between the episodes is information that is needed to compliment the films.

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Zorro’s Fighting Legion is a 1939 Republic Pictures film serial consisting of twelve chapters. It features Reed Hadley as Zorro. The plot revolves around his alter-ego Don Diego’s fight against the evil Don Del Oro.

A trademark of this serial is the sudden demise of at least one native informant in each episode. The direction was identical for each informant’s death, creating a source of unintentional humor: each informant, upon uttering the phrase, “Don Del Oro is…”, is shot by a golden arrow and dies before being able to name the villain’s alter ego. The serial is also unusual in featuring a real historical personage, Mexican President Benito Juárez, as a minor character.

The mysterious Don Del Oro (“Lord of Gold”), an idol of the Yaqui Indians, has emerged and attacks the gold trade of the Republic of Mexico, planning to take over the land and become Emperor. A man named Francisco is put in charge of a fighting legion to combat the Yaqui tribe and protect the gold, but he is attacked by men working for Don Del Oro. Zorro comes to his rescue, but it is too late for him. Francisco’s partner recognizes Zorro as the hidalgo Don Diego Vega. Francisco asks Diego, as Zorro, to take over the fighting legion and defeat Don Del Oro.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zorro’s_Fighting_Legion

Republic Pictures was an American independent film production-distribution corporation with studio facilities, operating from 1935 through 1959, and was best known for specializing in westerns, movie serials and B films emphasizing mystery and action.

The studio was also responsible for financing and distributing one Shakespeare film, Orson Welles‘ Macbeth (1948), and several of the films of John Ford during the 1940s and early 1950s. It was also notable for developing the careers of John WayneGene Autry and Roy Rogers.

Yakima Canutt (November 29, 1895 – May 24, 1986), also known as Yak Canutt, was an American rodeo rideractorstuntman and action director.

Born Enos Edward Canutt in the Snake River Hills, near Colfax, Washington; he was one of five children of John Lemuel Canutt, a rancher, and Nettie Ellen Stevens. He grew up in eastern Washington on a ranch near Penawawa Creek, founded by his grandfather and operated by his father, who also served a term in the state legislature. His formal education was limited to elementary school in Green Lake, Washington, then a suburb of Seattle. He gained the education for his life’s work on the family ranch, where he learned to hunt, trap, shoot, and ride.[1]

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He broke a wild bronco when 11. As a 6-foot-tall (1.8 m) sixteen-year-old he started bronc riding at the Whitman County Fair in Colfax in 1912 and at 17 he won the title of World’s Best Bronco Buster. Canutt started rodeo riding professionally and gained a reputation as a bronc rider, bulldogger and all-around cowboy. It was at the 1914 Pendleton Round-UpPendleton, Oregon he got his nickname “Yakima” when a newspaper caption misidentified him.[2] “Yakima Canutt may be the most famous person NOT from Yakima, Washington” says Elizabeth Gibson, author of Yakima, Washington.[3] Winning second place at the 1915 Pendleton Round-Up brought attention from show promoters, who invited him to compete around the country.[2]

“I started in major rodeos in 1914, and went through to 1923. There was quite a crop of us traveling together, and we would have special railroad cars and cars for the horses. We’d play anywhere from three, six, eight ten-day shows. Bronc riding and bulldogging were my specialties, but I did some roping,” said Canutt.[4]

During the 1916 season, he became interested in divorcee Kitty Wilks, who had won the Lady’s Bronc-Riding Championship a couple of times. They married on July 20, 1917 while at a show in Kalispell, Montana; he was 21 and she 23. The couple divorced about 1922.[2] While bulldogging in Idaho, Canutt’s mouth and upper lip were torn by a bull’s horn; but after stitches, Canutt returned to the competition. It wasn’t until a year later that a plastic surgeon could correct the injury.[2]

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World’s champion

Canutt won his first world championship at the Olympics of the West in 1917 and won more championships in the next few years. In between rodeos he broke horses for the French government in World War I.[5] In 1918, he went to Spokane to enlist in the Navy and was stationed in Bremerton. In the fall he was given a 30-day furlough to defend his rodeo title. Having enlisted for the war, he was discharged in spring 1919. At the 1919 Calgary Stampede he competed in the bucking event and met Pete Knight.[2]

He traveled to Los Angeles for a rodeo, and decided to winter in Hollywood, where he met screen personalities.[4] It was here that Tom Mix, who had also started in rodeos, invited him to be in two of his pictures.[2] Mix added to his flashy wardrobe by borrowing two of Canutt’s two-tone shirts and having his tailor make 40 copies.[4] Canutt got his first taste of stunting with a fight scene on a serial called Lightning Bryce [6]; he didn’t stay, and left Hollywood to play the 1920 rodeo circuit.

The Fort Worth rodeo was nicknamed “Yak’s show” after he won the saddle-bronc competition three years in 1921, 1922 and 1923. He had won the saddle-bronc competition in Pendleton in 1917, 1919, and 1923 and came second in 1915, and 1929. Canutt won the steer bulldogging in 1920, and 1921 and won the All-Around Police Gazette belt in 1917, 1919, 1920 and 1923.[2] While in Hollywood in 1923 for an awards ceremony, he was offered eight western action pictures for producer Ben Wilson at Burwillow Studios; the first was to be Riding Mad.

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Actor

Canutt had been perfecting tricks such as the Crupper Mount, a leap-frog over the horse’s rump into the saddle. Douglas Fairbanks used some in his film The Gaucho. Fairbanks and Canutt became friends and competed regularly at Fairbanks’ gym. Canutt took small parts in pictures of others to get experience.[2] It was in Branded a Bandit (1924) that his nose was broken in a 12-foot fall from a cliff. The picture was delayed several weeks, and when it resumed Canutt’s close shots were from the side. A plastic surgeon reset the nose, which healed, inspiring Canutt to remark that he thought it looked better.[2]

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Stuntman

When his contract with Wilson expired in 1927, Canutt was making appearances at rodeos across the country. By 1928 the talkies were coming out and though he had been in 48 silent pictures, Canutt knew his career was in trouble.[5] His voice had been damaged from flu in the Navy. He started taking on bit parts and stunts, and realized more could be done with action in pictures.[2]

In 1930 between pictures and rodeoing, Canutt met Minnie Audrea Yeager Rice at a party at her parents’ home. She was 12 years his junior. They kept company during the next year while he picked up work on the serials for Mascot Pictures Corporation. They married on November 12, 1931.[2]

When rodeo riders invaded Hollywood, they brought a battery of rodeo techniques that Canutt would expand and improve, including horse falls and wagon wrecks, along with the harnesses and cable rigs to make the stunts foolproof and safe.[4] Among the new safety devices was the ‘L’ stirrup, which allowed a man to fall off a horse without getting hung in the stirrup. Canutt also developed cabling and equipment to cause spectacular wagon crashes, while releasing the team, all on the same spot every time.[4] Safety methods such as these saved film-makers time and money and prevented accidents and injury to performers. One of Yakima’s inventions was the ‘Running W’ stunt, bringing down a horse at the gallop by attaching a wire, anchored to the ground, to its fetlocks and launching the rider forwards spectacularly. This either killed the horse, or rendered it badly shaken and unusable for the rest of the day.[4] The ‘Running W’ is now banned and has been replaced with the falling-horse technique. It is believed that the last time it was used was on the 1983 Iraqi film al-Mas’ Ala Al-Kubra when the British actor and friend of Yak Marc Sinden and stuntman Ken Buckle (who had been trained by Yak) performed the stunt three times during a cavalry charge sequence.[7][8]

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It was while working on Mascot serials that Canutt practiced and perfected his most famous stunts, including the drop from a stagecoach that he would employ in John Ford‘s 1939Stagecoach. He first did it in Riders of the Dawn in 1937 while doubling for Jack Randall.[2] In his 1981 film Raiders of the Lost ArkSteven Speilberg paid homage to Canutt, recreating the stunt when a stuntman, Terry Leonard, (doubling for Harrison Ford) ‘dropped’ from the front of a German Army transport truck, was dragged underneath (along a prepared trench) and then climbed up the back and round to the front again.[9]

John Wayne

While at Mascot, Canutt met John Wayne while doubling for him in a motorcycle stunt for The Shadow of the Eagle in 1932. Wayne admired Canutt’s agility and fearlessness, and Canutt respected Wayne’s willingness to learn and attempt his own stunts.[10] Canutt taught Wayne how to fall off a horse.[11]

“The two worked together to create a technique that made on-screen fight scenes more realistic. Wayne and Canutt found if they stood at a certain angle in front of the camera, they could throw a punch at an actor’s face and make it look as if actual contact had been made.”[10]

Canutt and Wayne pioneered stunt and screen fighting techniques still in use. Much of Wayne’s on-screen persona was from Canutt. The characterizations associated with Wayne – the drawling, hesitant speech and the hip-rolling walk – were pure Canutt.[12] Said Wayne, “I spent weeks studying the way Yakima Canutt walked and talked. He was a real cowhand.”[13]

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In 1932, Canutt’s first son Edward Clay was born and nicknamed ‘Tap’, short for Tapadero, a Spanish word for a stirrup covering. It was in 1932 that Canutt broke his shoulder in four places while trying to transfer from horse to wagon team.[2] Though work was scarce, he got by combining stunting and rodeo work.

In 1934, Herbert J. Yates of Consolidated Film Industries combined MonogramMascot, Liberty, Majestic, Chesterfield, and Invincible Pictures to form Republic Pictures, and Canutt became Republic’s top stuntman. He handled all the action on many pictures, including Gene Autry films; and several series and serials, such as The Lone Ranger andZorro. For Zorro Rides Again, Canutt did almost all the scenes in which Zorro wore a mask, and he was on the screen as much as the star John Carroll.[14] When the action was indicated in a Republic script, it said “see Yakima Canutt for action sequences.”[4]

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William Witney, one of Republic’s film directors, said:

“There will probably never be another stuntman who can compare to Yakima Canutt. He had been a world champion cowboy several times and where horses were concerned he could do it all. He invented all the gadgets that made stunt work easier. One of his clever devices was a step that attached to the saddle so that he had leverage to transfer to another moving object, like a wagon or a train. Another was the “shotgun,” a spring-loaded device used to separate the tongue of a running wagon from the horses, thus cutting the horses loose. It also included a shock cord attached to the wagon bed, which caused wheels to cramp and turn the wagon over on the precise spot that was most advantageous for the camera.”[15]

In the 1936 film San Francisco Canutt replaced Clark Gable in a scene in which a wall was to fall on the star. Canutt said: “We had a heavy table situated so that I could dive under it at the last moment. Just as the wall started down, a girl in the scene became hysterical and panicked. I grabbed her, leaped for the table, but didn’t quite make it.” The girl was unhurt but he broke six ribs.[5]

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Ramrod

Canutt tried to get into directing; he was growing older and knew his stunting days were numbered. Harry Joe, Canutt’s second son, was born in January 1937. Joe and Tap would become important stuntmen, working with their father.

In 1938, Republic Pictures started expanding into bigger pictures and budgets. Canutt’s mentor and action director for the 1925 Ben-HurBreezy Eason was hired as second unit director, and Canutt to coordinate and ramrod the stunts. For Canutt this meant hiring stuntmen and doing some stunts himself, but laying out the action for the director and writing additional stunts.[4]

“In the five years between 1925 and 1930, fifty-five people were killed making movies, and more than ten thousand injured. By the late 1930s, the maverick stuntman willing to do anything for a buck was disappearing. Now under scrutiny, experienced stunt men began to separate themselves from amateurs by building special equipment, rehearsing stunts, and developing new techniques.” – fromFalling: How Our Greatest Fear Became Our Greatest Thrill by Garrett Soden.[16]

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John Ford hired Canutt on John Wayne‘s recommendation for Stagecoach, where Canutt supervised the river-crossing scene as well as the Indian chase scene, did the stagecoach drop, and doubled for Wayne in the coach stunts. For safety during the stagecoach drop stunt, Canutt devised modified yokes and tongues, to give extra handholds and extra room between the teams.[4] Ford told him that whenever Ford made an action picture and Canutt wasn’t working elsewhere, he was on Ford’s payroll.[2] Also in 1939, Canutt doubled Clark Gable in the burning of Atlanta in Gone With the Wind; he also appeared as a renegade accosting Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) as she crosses a bridge in a carriage driving through a shantytown.

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Second Unit Director

In 1940, Canutt sustained serious internal injuries when a horse fell on him while doubling for Clark Gable in Boom Town (1940). Though in discomfort for months after an operation to repair his bifurcated intestines, he continued to work.[2] Republic’s Sol Siegel offered him the chance to direct the action sequences of Dark Command, starring Wayne and directed by Raoul Walsh. On Dark Command, Canutt fashioned an elaborate cable system to yank back the plummeting coach before it fell on the stuntman and horses; he also created a breakaway harness from which they were released before hitting the water.[17]

It was in 1943 while doing a low-budget Roy Rogers called Idaho that Canutt broke both his legs at the ankles in a fall off a wagon.[2] He recovered to write the stunts and supervise the action for another Wayne film In Old Oklahoma. In the next decade Canutt became one of the best second unit and action directors. MGM brought Canutt to England in 1952 to direct the action and jousting sequences in Ivanhoe with Robert Taylor. This would set a precedent by filming action abroad instead of on the studio lot, and Canutt introduced many British stuntmen to Hollywood-style stunt training.[2] Ivanhoe was followed by Knights of the Round Table, again with director Richard Thorpe and starring Robert Taylor. Canutt was again brought in for lavish action scenes in King Richard and the Crusaders.[18]

Canutt directed the close-action scenes for Stanley Kubrick‘s Spartacus, spending five days directing retakes that included the slave army rolling its flaming logs into the Romans, and other fight scenes featuring Kirk DouglasTony Curtis and John Ireland.[19]

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Ben Hur

For Ben-Hur, Canutt staged the chariot race with nine teams of four horses. He trained Charlton Heston, (Judah Ben-Hur) and Stephen Boyd, (Messala) to do their own charioteering. He and his crew spent five months on the race sequence.[20] In contrast to the 1925 film, not one horse was hurt, and no humans were seriously injured; though Joe Canutt, while doubling for Charlton Heston, did cut his chin because he did not follow his father’s advice to hook himself to the chariot when Judah Ben-Hur’s chariot bounced over the wreck of another chariot.[21]

Walt Disney brought Canutt in to do Second Unit for Westward Ho, the Wagons! in 1956; the first live action Western Disney feature film followed by Old Yeller the next year, and culminating in 1960’s Swiss Family Robinson which involved transporting many exotic animals to a remote island in the West Indies.

Anthony Mann specifically requested Canutt for Second Unit for his 1961 El Cid, where Canutt directed sons Joe and Tap doubling forCharlton Heston and Christopher Rhodes in a stunning tournament joust. “Canutt was surely the most active stager of tournaments since the Middle Ages” – from Swordsmen of the Screen.[18] He was determined to make the combat scenes in El Cid the best that had ever been filmed.[21] Mann again requested him for 1964’s The Fall of the Roman Empire. Over the next ten years, Canutt would continue to work, bringing his talents to Cat BallouKhartoumWhere Eagles Dare and 1970’s A Man Called Horse.

For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Yakima Canutt has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1500 Vine Street. In 1967, he was given an Honorary Academy Award for achievements as a stunt man and for developing safety devices to protect stunt men everywhere. He was inducted into the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (Hall of Fame).

1985 – Yakima appeared as himself in “Yak’s Best Ride” directed by John Crawford. Produced by Clyde Lucas and Ed Penny

Yakima Canutt died of natural causes at the age of 90 in North Hollywood, California.[22]

He is buried at Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery there.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yakima_Canutt

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Now you might understand why dear reader that I feel the way I do.  The kind of Hollywood, and adversely the kind of America I want is the one that made movies like Zorro’s Fighting Legion which were populated by men like Yakima Canutt.  My admiration for George Lucas is that he kept this type of America alive for the world by paying direct tribute to the old Republic serials, particularly Zorro’s Fighting Legion with his creation of Indiana Jones.  Like Republic Studios, George Lucas’ Lucasfilm made movies with the same level of independence which fashioned the Republic serials to be so important in American storytelling.  Raiders of the Lost Ark, not to take anything away from the visionary story of placing a globetrotting archeologist in a high adventure setting which has advanced science in so many wonderful ways, borrowed heavily from the old Republic serials and because it did, made me aware of their existence across time and space.   And now you too dear reader have seen one, the best one in my opinion.  One of the big fears that many current day Star Wars fans has is that Disney will ruin the Saturday morning serial feel to the films that mean more to people than even modern religions can duplicate.  The reason is that the stories have values that are not provided in modern society, and movie fans are hungry for films with value.  But Disney, even though it is a large company has not forgotten where it came from.  It knows what Uncle Walt told them from beyond the grave and Star Wars is in good hands.  The evidence is in The Lone Ranger which Disney is producing to re-invent the western the way they re-invented the pirate stories.  But it cannot be forgotten that what came first, was the great Republic serials like Zorro’s Fighting Legion where truth, justice, and the American way were plot points of value not avoided by a growing consensus toward world-wide communist domination.

The Don Del Oro of our time is all those statist lovers who would destroy all who attempt to stand for goodness.  They reside among us in reality with masks hiding their true intentions from behind the desks of union leadership, political office, even movie studio heads.  But not everyone is playing by the rules, and like Don Diego from Zorro’s Fighting Legion there are film producers like George Lucas who kept the old serials alive for a new generation, and Jerry Bruckheimer who is making the modern version of The Lone Ranger possible.  But more importantly, it is the work of men like Yakima Canutt, and Terry Lenard who gave wings to the ideas of freedom, which motion pictures have traditionally stood for, and still do in isolated cases like Disney’s The Lone Ranger, and Warner Brother’s Man of Steel.

It is worth taking a day or two to watch all these clips.  So make up some snacks in the kitchen and take some time to enjoy the foundations of American film and the heroic ideals that accompany them.

Rich Hoffman

“Justice Comes with the Crack of a Whip!”

www.tailofthedragonbook.com

How to Save the American Economy: John Galt and Thorium Reactors

Two things I noticed immediately from the film critics of Dark Knight Rises, and now of the upcoming Atlas Shrugged Part II, is that the media in general is belittling the kind of super energy power supply that is featured in those films. CLICK HERE FOR AN EXAMPLE. In Dark Knight Rises Bruce Wayne has funded essentially a thorium reactor that will power Gotham City with the cleanest and most powerful energy yet devised on earth. In Atlas Shrugged Part II John Galt has built a special engine that is capable of running off static electricity, literally pulling electrons out of the air much the way lightning forms in nature. Both technologies are based on scientific fact yet are presented in superhero films as a solution to the world’s energy, financial, and environmental impact issues surrounding sustainable power. There is a good reason for that belittlement–because anything that is not coal, solar, wind, oil, or any other established technology, is a threat to the financial roots those technologies have established in human culture.

Even the liberal press who leans in the direction of environmental concerns find the kind of energy supply shown in Dark Knight Rises and Atlas Shrugged as science fiction regulated to childhood fantasies. What they fail to disclose is that their opinions are formulated around the millions of dollars traditional power supply companies have spent on congressman, senators and lawyers through lobbyists to protect their monopolies. The media are victims of a protection racket propelled by the political establishment to cover for the money that lobbyists spent on legislators to shape public opinion. All the parties involved in the racket are committed to their own doomed futures with a foolish pursuit of the kind of power that is produced by traditional sources in order to protect the jobs, the flow of money, and the long-term contracts that have been set up by the emergence of electricity.

But, the concepts shown in Dark Knight Rises and Atlas Shrugged are not science fiction, but rather are science fact. Thorium in fact is a source of nuclear power that was developed as far back as the middle of the Twentieth Century and President Nixon was firmly committed to developing it as a way to inject a lot of life into the American economy. But politics got in the way and threw roadblocks up at every attempt. When Three Mile Island happened in America, and most recently Fukushima in Japan the media and political scallywags seized upon those tragedies to frighten a timid public away from nuclear energy—so to preserve the public need of dirty energy by which many millions of current jobs rely. No politician in their right mind would dare act against the job losses and union jobs of those working in the energy sectors of the American economy which would be threatened by the kind of change thorium reactors would bring to the energy industry. It would be equivalent to introducing email to the United States Post Office service. The result to traditional mail is that it’s going bankrupt because it simply can’t compete with email. Thus the same would be said of thorium reactors compared to coal-burning power plants or solar energy.

Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor technology is truly a revolution in clean energy production. Thorium is such a dense energy supply that a lifetime of energy use can be held in the palm of a hand. LFTR reactors are small and can consume nearly 100% of its fuel while current reactors only consume about 2% before the fuel becomes waste. LFTR’s process heat can turn coal and natural gas to methanol, and can be used to harvest shale oil. It can turn trash into synthetic gasoline and diesel fuel. LFTR’s can help cure cancer, provide true national energy independence, desalinate salt water and create countless jobs and national prosperity. The only thing that is preventing LFTR energy in America is over regulation of the nuclear industry created by the government in response to a panic addicted media all in the preservation of existing power sources protected by lobbyists.

Imagine being able to build a LFTR power plant in North Africa along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Not only could it produce enough power to take care of most of the northern countries, it could also turn sea water into drinkable service bringing irrigation canals to draught infested regions saving millions of lives and improving the lives of millions more. Because of LFTR technology no place on earth would have to go without water and no human being would have to die of thirst. It would enrich the lives of every human being on the planet.

There are many people in politics who do not wish to see American dependence on foreign oil go away, because they profit a great deal from that arrangement. They also do not wish to turn deserts green and feed the world, because then there would be no altruism from which they could act as middlemen of kindness. They do not wish to eliminate nuclear waste as LFTR does because then opposition to nuclear power by the public would be removed. They do not wish to turn trash into fuel, because then there would be no environmental danger to protest against, giving their fruitless lives less meaning. These types of people do not wish the world to be truly better. They wish to keep energy dependence alive and well because a dependent population tends to look toward a leader, and they fantasies to provide that leadership, even at the expense of other people’s freedom.

If America could rid itself of its fearful lobbyists and the politicians that eat from their hands stepping forward and embracing LFTR technology, the entire economy of The United States would change for the better. Such a decision would affect each and every citizen of America with new energy that is found in North America in great abundance that is clean, powerful, and clearly the next step for the human race. What is holding back our society from the millions of new jobs LFTR would create is a corrupt political system and a toothless media more committed to progressive politics than the kind of future LFTR could bring not just to America, but the world.

The misery of a failed economy, of world hunger, of people dying of cancer, of dirty energy and environmental hazards are self-inflicted because the potential of LFTR technology is available right now and has been for a number of years. But it has been concealed in order to protect the old way of doing business from the new way. What has happened is equivalent to the car companies at the turn of the century being prevented from emerging as a business because the makers of horse carriages lobbied congress to create laws to prevent the car companies from buying tires. The power of the energy lobby has been to protect how money was made yesterday, not in developing how it will be made tomorrow.
When film critics attempt to belittle an emerging technology it is not because they find it offensive, or silly. It is because it threatens the system they serve as a member of the accepted collective. They are acting as agents of attack against any threat to their primitive knowledge, because they wish to preserve the static intellectualism that they have built their lives around. When critics come out against the new Atlas Shrugged film it is not that the movie is bad, or the film narrative is poor. It is because they represent in real life what the fictional character of John Galt is attempting to warn the world about.

In the book Atlas Shrugged John Galt creates a society for those brave enough, and smart enough to comprehend it deep in the mountains of Colorado. He calls it Galt’s Gulch—otherwise known as Atlantis. It is a paradise on earth where he his friends flee the parasites of The United States resisting the inventions of the truly brilliant and creative. That society is made possible by John Galt’s miracle power generator, very similar to the LFTR technology discussed in this article. I have reported here at Overmanwarrior’s Wisdom many technological achievements that are being held up by an overly regulated nation such as cures for cancer, flying cars, and extraordinary botanical growth methods which point to a world of tomorrow what we could have today if not for the degrees of collectivism invented by Karl Marx which is behind almost every modern political action. It is because of Marxist subscription to social collectivism that wonderful technologies like Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor’s have been placed on the shelf to protect the infrastructure of yesterday and the jobs created by that faded dream. The pain and suffering our society is anguishing through now, the mindless war for absolutely no reason but to keep politicians in power and crony capitalism thriving through lobbyists is completely avoidable and senseless. It’s a self-imposed pain created by the masochists in love with Marxism—with huge government bureaucracy, and a political class drunk on tax payer funded power.

Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor technology is not being discussed in the mainstream news because it threatens the monopolies of the past. Even though every politician wishes to get elected on promises they make to fix the problems of our day, deep in their hearts they never want the problems to actually be solved. They crave environmental issues, unstable conditions in the Middle East, nuclear melt downs with radiation that kills thousands because it leaves society scrambling for a leader to save the day, which never comes. So long as there are problems in the world, the politician has a job to do, and Washington—along with every parasite who lives off the money flowing down K-Street strives to keep that system intact. LFTR technology actually solves many modern problems, and that is why it is being shoved under the carpet, and kept from the public’s eyes.

So when the movie Atlas Shrugged Part II comes out understand that the plot of some brilliant man who invents a new form of energy which could save the world and give rise to a new day for the human race, but instead retreats to the mountains of Colorado to selfishly keep it for a small group of capitalists, that it’s more science fact than science fiction. Technology like what John Galt fictionally invented in Atlas Shrugged is actually quite real, and the methods which prevent that technology from benefiting mankind is just as real as the fictional tale claims. The critics who will pan the movie as ludicrous and immature—even selfish are the thieves who are keeping the world prisoner to their Marxist philosophy of collectivism in service to the political elite at the expense of innovation and human prosperity. The by-product of this philosophy is misery by the truck loads and mountains of broken dreams stamping out forever the light behind the eyes of every child with the courage to question their surroundings and crush the spirit of all the children who didn’t leaving an adult population of mindless drones and school levy supporters.

Rich Hoffman

If you like my work at this site then check out my new book Tail of the Dragon along with quotes, interviews, reviews, and ways to find one at:

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‘No Lakota Levy’ Hosts a “Community Conversation”: Results from Jefferey Stec

Who wants to tell me I’m being an “extremist” for calling teachers of public education socialists, which I have been doing for years now?  The video below shows the teachers from the Chicago Teachers Union celebrating their money grabbing victory after their recent strike.  Watch carefully.  These are the kinds of employees who are asking for a tax increase off of property values in our communities.  The time has come to ask if we really want socialist public workers teaching our children at all, let alone at the expensive sum of money they are demanding to do it.

 

A week ago some of the members of No Lakota Levy hosted a “Community Conversation” which is the $40,000 program pushed by Lakota Superintendent Karen Mantia and conducted by the progressive Cincinnati activist Jeffery Stec. Below are the results of that meeting so it can be seen what Jeffery is trying to do and how the meetings are to be conducted. I thought it was odd that they put the name of the host on their mass mailings to the entire district. I would think it would discourage people from volunteering in the future. So for the sake of this article I took the homeowner’s name off the letterhead out of courtesy. To see my comments about the “community conversation” program CLICK HERE.

Below is the outcome of the meeting as Jeffery sent it out to the residents of the Lakota School District. For my readers here I have hot linked each item with an article I have written in the past regarding Lakota and their failures to balance their budget. So feel free to click on each item to see what I’ve said leading up to this meeting.  As to what’s wrong with public education the Chicago Teacher’s Union tells the whole story.  Any public school that has a union like the one shown in the video below should be replaced with a competitive alternative. 

Defining a Good School District
A Community Conversation 9-13-2012

1. Non-curricular goals
a. Kids have transportation to school (differing opinions about bus transit)
b. Buildings look nice, well maintained
2. Outcomes
a. Kids can compete globally
b. Kids are motivated
3. Taught values
a. Honor
b. Integrity
c. Kids speak well of teachers
d. Kids have a good social culture with peers
4. Taught skills
a. Technology
5. Educational process
a. Much one-on-one time between teachers and children
i. Address specific needs of individual kids
ii. Maximize potential of each child at their pace
iii. Get optimum classroom size
b. Kids are engaged
i. With the educational material
ii. With other kids socially
iii. They compete for grades
c. Teachers
i. Are proud of their jobs and the district
ii. They have integrity
iii. Care for students
iv. Involved in community outside of teaching
v. Willing to do more
vi. Creative
vii. Honorable, professional, integrity
viii. Fulfilled
6. Administration
a. Proactive to address issues before problems arise
b. District listens to community needs—it’s a two-way, respectful conversation
c. Fight for right answer, not what is easy (e.g. giving in to union)
d. Financial issues
i. Be efficient, disciplined, and creative with finances
1. But “to a point”—don’t overly compromise effective teaching
ii. Be a resourceful district—find a way to make it work
iii. Balanced budget—live within its means
iv. Community needs have priority over union demands
1. Fight the union
2. Lower teacher costs by 5%
v. District tightens belt as community does
vi. Don’t use cuts to scare parents into supporting levy
e. Employees
i. Competent employees
ii. Frugal employees
iii. Accountable employees—they care about district outcomes and resources
f. Kids not involved in levy debate

Rich Hoffman

If you like my work at this site then check out my new book Tail of the Dragon along with quotes, interviews, reviews, and ways to find one at:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15995766-tail-of-the-dragon

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The “Ayn Rand Cult”: Designations from undeveloped intellects

One thing must be cleared up in regard to Ayn Rand since tensions are rising due to the new Atlas Shrugged movie about to be released in the fall of 2012. But first I must declare my position on Rand’s writing and her philosophy of Objectivism. I came to Ayn Rand’s work only a few years ago, well after my foundation beliefs had been formed. My thoughts about things are not due to any teaching of Objectivism or any book Ayn Rand wrote. But what a relief it was to read Atlas Shrugged for the first time, and see that Ayn Rand over half a century ago had many of the same thoughts that I did. When the truth is pursued on any matter and reality is witnessed with its true value witnessed without any evasion tactics to distort the data, the results are not subject to opinion. The facts are the facts and no encounter group in pursuit of a consensus of opinion can negate the truth for the sake of other people’s feelings. Feelings do not equate to truth.

But there are many who insist on living their lives with shrouded facts and hazy logic. They evade truth at every turn and use their feelings to guide them through existence. They were taught and accepted at face value what instruction they received from the education system they grew up with, and adopted the tendencies of their parents without question. Their life is the sum of the many lives that played a part in molding their core beliefs which is fine for an infinite. But these types of people never take those foundations and apply their own unique individuality to their observations to pursue a truth as it is, not as they wish it to be as small children or puberty stricken teenagers yearning for their first kiss. These types of weak, sensitive beings are attracted to the practices of collectivism and they despise any work by Ayn Rand and her thoughts on individualism. These are the types of people who call Ayn Rand a cult in an attempt to discredit publicly people who enjoy Ayn Rand’s books. This trend can clearly be seen in this movie review of Atlas Shrugged Part One.

A cult is something to the effect that Jim Jones participated in, or what labor unions enjoy. They are collectivist by their very nature, and this is not what Ayn Rand was all about. CLICK HERE TO REVIEW. In an effort to paint Ayn Rand as socially dangerous the word “cult” is used so to discourage any further investigation into the kind of work that Ayn Rand produced. What is really behind such a designation is the attempt by collectivist leaning people to evade reality, and they do not want to even be aware that Ayn Rand ever existed and that she wrote anything at all. They wish to maintain the illusion that the ideas they have built their lives around are the ones that will lead them to success and they don’t want to know otherwise.

I have read many books over the years, and watched many, many movies. I have read books by very left leaning people and there are movies and actors who are extremely progressive on the severely liberal side that I like to this day—Sean Penn comes to mind. I have seen all of Michael Moore’s films and actually enjoyed Roger and Me way back when he was first getting started. I can report that I have never felt anger at someone for something they believed in. I have never felt anger at people who enjoy Michael Moore films or read books by the liberal activist Stephen King. My thoughts are that people who adhere to such beliefs are like children who yet have to learn the rules of the universe, and they have not developed the intellect to comprehend those truths. So I watch films and read books by such progressive minds like I might watch children playing at a park—with mild amusement. The anger comes when collectivists expect my buy-in to something I know to be wrong, because the majority ruled in favor of it. I am not okay with that, and anger erupts often with me under these conditions.

As people get older and more mature, they tend to become wiser—and more conservative. This is why there are so many older people who are in the Tea Party movement. With age comes wisdom, and the gradual acceptance of varying degrees of reality. The reason President Obama panders to young people is because they do not have developed intellects yet to understand what a con artist he is. They are easily seduced into believing in the Obamanation of America. This is why so many young people find themselves wanting to protest whatever their college professors or high school teachers tell them to adhere to, because they have not developed critical thinking to the level of individual thought as of yet, and until they do, they are most likely not qualified to vote, because they are simply too immature to think with reason.

I became interested in Ayn Rand during my well documented levy fights with public education. I always knew my position was correct, but when dealing with people who support public education I quickly realized that the people who supported blindly tax increase after tax increase for a public education system corrupted with collectivist oriented labor unions I needed to check my premise. So I went and read books about education from the pro side and found them dancing around some fundamental flaw in their thinking—since everything centered on collectivism which I have always rejected. In fact there was never a time in my life where I adhered to anything resembling collectivism. So it was a great relief during all this reading about education that I ran into Ayn Rand. Once I read Atlas Shrugged and saw that she predicted much about the world that was happening currently, I realized that Rand had done the hard work of adding up all the facts of an observed life to their logical conclusions.

Ayn Rand was not a mystic who looked into a crystal ball and saw the future even down to the detail of the Obama Presidency, which has been an absolute train wreck rooted deeply in collectivist thought. She simply observed reality and added things up based on the laws that govern everything. I knew she was correct because I had arrived at many of the same conclusions completely independent. Reading her was like meeting one intelligent person in an ocean of fools who actually understood the meaning of things, and it was refreshing. This is why people who work in book stores whisper under their breaths that they enjoy Rand’s work. This is why Ayn Rand is so beloved. It is not a “cult,” it’s a relief to read someone from the past who knew what anyone who is even partially awake knows now. Rand’s books provide the confirmation of truth as it is observed in reality by intelligent individuals. If people don’t understand Ayn Rand or have strong feelings against her, it’s probably because the critics are too stupid to comprehend her basic thoughts, since they have not yet observed such things in their own realities.

People who think individually do not pick up an Ayn Rand book and suddenly start following everything she says like some mindless drone. This falsehood was created by collectivists because they assume all people are like them, and are so easily programmed. Any Rand fans tend to be deep thinkers who have made general observations about reality, and find her work a relief that they are not alone and crazy in their thoughts. The masses that lean toward collectivism can through democracy appear to be in charge through mass threat and intimidation. But what they are is essentially undeveloped mentalities who are either in denial of reality through evasion or they are too immature to be exposed to enough truth so that they can arrive at a conclusion.

The anger at Ayn Rand and the derogatory claim that she has a “cult” of followers are intended to use evasion to hide the world from Ayn Rand’s truth. Socially, these maniacal collectivists have done such a good job of hiding her, and forcing her books underground that I didn’t read one of her novels until I was in my forties. This is quite extraordinary since I do read a lot and know people who are excessive readers and she never came up in conversations until a few years ago. Some people are lucky enough to have a renegade literary teacher or college professor who exposes them to Ayn Rand and those young people become hooked for life, because they recognize the truth in Rand’s work that they can’t find anywhere else, because collectivism has infected much of humanity as it has for the entire duration of civilization. Ayn Rand uniquely has a background that began when communism destroyed her life in the Soviet Union yet she had the intellect to question what was happening around her. She found in America the relief valve to her collectivist frustrations and a very small window to warn, through her books, The United States of what it would become if it did not stop adopting collectivism from Europe and yearn for the merits of Karl Marx and the Bolsheviks who overthrew Russia ushering in communism.

I used to feel that I had to concede my firm beliefs that reality was subjective to democratic opinion, but that was not working when it came to public education and I couldn’t understand why. I knew I wasn’t wrong, but I gave people the freedom to do their own thinking and to disagree with me. I saw that Ayn Rand had pondered the same thoughts and went through the same process I was and a pattern was forming which was very clear to me. Collectivism does not work and to the extent to which it is embedded into public education, politics in general, labor unions, even home owners associations, is truly shocking. I don’t care to spend one more minute of my life negotiating with those who are clearly in the wrong. Ayn Rand wrote Atlas Shrugged based on her observations of the way the Bolsheviks overthrew the largest country on the face of the planet, and she was able to apply those truths to the American experience, and that truth has great reverence to those awake enough to understand the message.

Those who call Ayn Rand and her books a—“cult” are practicing evasion, and wish to use peer pressure to prevent others from reading one of the greatest literary achievements ever created by a human mind. I have read Shakespeare, I have read Hemmingway, I have read Plato, I have read Sir James Frazer, I love and appreciate James Joyce and the poetry of T.S. Elliot and Ayn Rand is one of mankind’s greatest authors. She’s great because she was able to devise stories that reflected a hidden truth projected right in front of our faces, but the multi millennium trend to follow after collectivist pursuits kept us from seeing it. Ayn Rand is a uniquely American writer with a viewpoint that was born in Russia and sought The United States in order to flourish. Her work is unusual and fresh even after half a century has passed because few authors have had the guts to follow the truth as far as she did. Sadly, even supporters of Ayn Rand find themselves reading her books in secret and proclaiming their enjoyment of it under hushed voices because they are afraid of the ridicule by the collective.

The collective fears Ayn Rand because they are aware that they are suppressing the facts of existence from their own minds and this is the source of their emotions. If they were so sure of their version of the truth, they would not fear a book or its author. But they do, which is why they have attempted to paint politicians like Paul Ryan as an extreme because he happens to adore Ayn Rand. Even in my fights with the public education labor unions I receive emails and little notes declaring me as a “Randian” as to insinuate that such a term has a negative connotation. These names come from collectivists who follow Saul Alinsky like he’s the second coming of Christ, or Karl Marx the way most of the Obama White House does. The collectivist knows that their edited facts cannot hold up to reality so they hate Ayn Rand for the power of her books to shine light on what they are hiding. It is this trend which states the whole story. Behind the hatred of Ayn Rand is the fear that she’s right and her detractors are every bit the villains of her novels, that she saw through them before they were even born. And that same collectivist hope that if they can rid the earth of Ayn Rand that others will never discover what terrors to the human race the collectivists really are. Through evasion they hope that others who can see as Ayn Rand does and are fully living life awake, alert, and possess the ability to add up the facts will continue to chase their tails in isolation—and keep their crazy conspiracy theories to themselves for the sake of the collective built upon the preservation of evasion.

Ayn Rand is at the center of a war of ideas in modern America. Those who like and enjoy her books whether or not they agree with everything she believed are on one side. Those who hate her with every fiber of their being are on the other. In the middle is a lot of mushy confusion which represents the “undecided” voters. Ayn Rand is as far away from a cult that the definition can conger up. The reality is that people who don’t like her most likely have not yet evolved far enough along in their own minds to grapple with her concepts which are rooted in basic truths. So beware of those who call her a “cult leader” or any other diabolical term. The real villains are those who say such things off their forked tongues disguising through evasion the merits of their ignorance. Such enemies can be crushed with the truth, so wield it at them without mercy and don’t fret when their silly feelings are damaged, because in so doing, you may actually save them from the ignorance of themselves and their grand illusions.

Read my review of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead for more info, CLICK HERE.

Rich Hoffman

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