Cliffhanger is Coming: A tip of the hat to Johnston McCulley

It is a neat time that we live in, years ago when I first found the old Johnston McCulley novel, The Curse of Capistrano, I considered it a real treasure. Actually, I still do. But these days with the simple click of a mouse you can not only find the book, but you can have someone read it to you, which is the case in the below video. I have always loved that novel for its expressive language and colorful expose of righteousness. I didn’t understand when I was younger why critics ridiculed McCulley so intensely—but have since learned that a progressive push was well underway in the second half of the 20th century to steer society away from tradition and into something else. That something else I simply despise and it has been quite an ordeal for me to find entertainment that I enjoy because of it. So it is a treat to revisit McCulley’s work whenever I can and relish in his pulp fiction.


There was obviously a time in our history when that kind of writing was all the rage and considered masterful. These days it’s out of fashion, and ridiculed so nobody makes the attempt. But in McCulley’s day, many westerns were made to emulate his style which defined early cinema. Being the type of person that I am, a person who loves traditional American western arts, there just isn’t much that impresses me in regards to entertainment from music to movies. My love of the Star Wars films and books could be simplified by attributing that they are simply westerns set in space. The old western values started by Johnston McCulley are there, which is the key reason that they are so popular—because people now are the same people as they were in 1919, 1419, or 0019—they essentially have the same hopes and dreams as they always have and from Johnston McCulley, his character of Zorro epitomized those values.

In recent years those values have been under attack, and those assailants know that people have values in line with tradition—so their solution has been to kill tradition. They have entered publishing, movie making, television broadcasting, music, commercial art—virtually every category with the sole intention of destroying American tradition—an aspect of American life that I enjoy. So I have taken this slight quite personal, as is in evidence by my many words upon these pages

I am in a unique position as opposed to Johnston McCulley to add to these traditions of westerns even in a modern context. Most writers are good with the pen but shrivel up in real life at the slightest drizzle of rain upon their skin. So they tend not to be men of action. I am the opposite; I have developed a writing ability as a natural overflow of my life of action. I have been all over and done virtually everything and associated with people at every level of society. So my perspective on things is unusually hands-on which carries over directly into my writing style and content.

The villains in the old McCulley novels were corrupt governors and big government statists aligned through crony capitalists to exploit the efforts of the innocent. However, times these days are more complicated so a similar story dealing with the same type of material would naturally involve government labor unions, diabolical politicians, and grand conspiracies involving sacrifice to supernatural beings. These will be the types of stories that will flow from the upcoming Cliffhanger stories offered under the banner, The Curse of Fort Seven Mile.

For years I have put up with the political messages with a liberal/progressive slant in movies and music, so I expect the same respect from that sector of the population when they see that the type of villains in my stories are the heroes of theirs. Surely they didn’t expect that the flow of artistic enterprise would move in only one progressive direction? But my hunch says that they did, and they will find Cliffhanger repulsive. I’ve been through the meat grinder of progressive influence in entertainment and am in the very unique position to have never compromised with them—which means that the Cliffhanger stories will have a uniquely authentic attribute that is innocently filled with righteousness—in a similar way that McCulley’s work was when it first appeared. America was a more innocent place then, so people like McCulley were a little more common. But today, there is no innocence left; most people fall in either a category of being intellectually damaged, or naively removed from reality. In my life, I have managed to have neither infliction which gives quite a lot more thrust to my prose. Within that thrust there will be familiar themes that will likely incite the political left. I can only say to them that they’ll have to live with it. Their sensitivities are not something that society should be molded around—and they won’t be as far as I’m concerned

It’s taken quite a number of years for me to solve the riddles of these upcoming chapters in The Curse of Fort Seven Mile. I had a pretty good ideal what Cliffhanger was all about when he was first introduced in 2004, but I had some more living to conduct before I felt comfortable with the philosophical assertions that were to be made. I still had young children at the time, money to make, and political navigation to understand. For those who follow me here at Overmanwarrior’s Wisdom you have seen much of that first-hand. But it was always my desire to take those experiences and place them into a story context involving the character of Cliffhanger.

A lot of people have been patiently waiting for my next Cliffhanger additions, and now is the time. So it will be with great fun and fanfare as soon as we figure out the distribution channels which accommodate all the modern tools that Cliffhanger will return to print quite audaciously. But it should never be forgotten that the tradition of Cliffhanger is a direct tip of the hat to Johnston McCulley and his character of Zorro. Zorro was needed in the 20th century to define values—and he did that. But for the 21st century, a new hero is needed, someone who can deal with all the strange new influences indicative to the modern times. That character is Cliffhanger, and he is coming.

Rich Hoffman

Nickelback’s Edge of Revolution: Communism hidden behind the Occupy Movement

There is a lot of talk these days about revolution. For those statists who want to pretend that their grip on the old world will remain, they are dreadfully in for some big surprises. There are two revolutions afoot across the world and often they are mixed together in the headlines of news reports. To novice eyes, it all looks the same, but that is not the case. There are moves toward capitalism, like what is going on in modern-day Hong Kong—where the people of that city hope to retain much of the type of government that is taken for granted in the West. Then there is the disguised communist push hidden behind progressivism centering on today’s youth and the Occupy Wall Street types. That is the type of revolution that the rock group Nickelback is presenting with their new 2014 album. The Edge Of A Revolution is the lead single from the rock band’s eighth album due in stores on Republic Records. “Edge of a Revolution” is political protest song sympathetic to radicals against capitalism. Here are the lyrics:

Head high, protest line Freedom scribbled on your spine Headline,New York Times Standing on the edge of a revolution Hey, hey, just obey Your secret’s safe with the NSA In God we trust, or the CIA Standing on the edge of a revolution Yeah, we’re standing on the edge of a revolution Revolution Revolution Revolution No, we won’t give up We won’t go away ‘Cause we’ll never thought to live in this mass delusion No, we don’t wanna hear it, another word that you say ‘Cause we know they’re out depending on mass confusion No, we can’t turn back, we can’t turn away ‘Cause it’s time we all rely on the lost illusion No, we won’t lay down and accept our fate, We’re standing on the edge of a revolution Wall streets, common thief When they get caught, they all go free A brand new yacht, and a finders fee Standing on the edge of a revolution Same shit, different day Can’t keep fed if I can’t get paid We’ll all be dead if this shit don’t change Standing on the edge of a revolution Yeah, we’re standing on the edge of a revolution Revolution Revolution Revolution No, we won’t give up We won’t go away ‘Cause we’ll never thought to live in this mass delusion No, we don’t wanna hear it, another word that you say ‘Cause we know they’re out depending on mass confusion No, we can’t turn back, we can’t turn away ‘Cause it’s time we all rely on the lost illusion No, we won’t lay down and accept our fate, We’re standing on the edge of a revolution


Nickelback is proving to follow their rock music diatribes against capitalism appealing to a life of excess while at the same time preaching against it, like they did in their single, “Rockstar.” The rock band is Canadian in origin and have quite a history making songs about excess sound appealing while sending a strong message to their listeners portraying capitalism as a vile evil. This is the same thing they are doing with their new single “Revolution.” Their suggestion is mixed truth, such the libertarian concerns about the NSA, but then features their focus on Wall Street thieves buying yachts and making livings off finder’s fees. Their appeal is directly communicating to the young people sympathetic to Occupy Wall Street. Whereas “Rockstar” was a self satirized attack against the life of excess that groups like Nickleback live while on the road, this new song paints the rich in America as something to revolutionize against and is a call to action.


The message from Nickleback is to use common anxieties such as the NSA to sell communism through the same type of revolution that the Bolsheviks used in St Petersburg in Russia during 1917 to bring communism to a newly formed Soviet Union. The Wall Street protestors called upon by Nickleback is demanding the same type of thing painting the bourgeoisie of American culture as something that must be overcome. Many of the same youth chanting with upraised hands to the beat of this new song have no idea that much of the political push behind the uprisings of the Middle East is communism using the religion of Islam as a mask for cultural penetration.

They don’t call it out by name but communism is the revolution Nickleback is calling for. The flags waved in their music video shown above are all modern manifestations of communism. There are no American flags waving toward the tyranny of progressive Europe, or support of the Hong Kong capitalists against communist China—the revolution Nickleback is advocating is one supporting communism.


So think about that when you hear the new Nickleback song on the radio and at nightclubs provoking you to dance a bit to the rhythm. Then consider where the voices in favor of capitalism are—they aren’t in the music and movie industry. They are alone and voiceless for the most part. Capitalists do not have advocates at the level of entertainment that Nickleback represents. The music industry certainly doesn’t support such artists, and lyrics that support capitalism against socialism. Pro capitalist messages certainly don’t get played on the radio. But if a group like the Canadian rock stars Nickleback want to sing against capitalism, they’ll get all the weapons of the media on their side to broadcast straight into the ears of America’s youth—so that they will demand change from a capitalist system to a communist one.

Nickleback doesn’t sing about what life will be like after the revolution when all their listeners are sitting around waiting for someone to give them a job. Or nobody is moving money on Wall Street to create new Apple stores in shopping malls to sell those same fans iPhones so that they can listen to Nickleback sing anti-capitalist songs against America. They just preach revolution against the American system of capitalism. They don’t say what comes next. For that, today’s youth only need to look at modern-day Hong Kong and see what happens after a communist revolution. Today’s Nickleback fans will give to their grandchildren a revolution going back the other way—the same as Hong Kong is currently—hoping to take some capitalism from a communist government after the freedoms of today are long gone.

Rich Hoffman

Star Wars: Commander–How the Apple Company greatly increases the quality of life

I have predicted and discussed much of what is happening today in virtually every category over the last 4 years.  Some listened, most didn’t.  For those who didn’t—hopefully you learned your lesson and will in the future. However, for me, which has been the case all of my life, humanity has let me down.  People do not aspire to be what they should, and the times are often regulated and maintained by the laziest of our species.  This is why I often turn to mythology for inspiration, because the Wall Street Journal doesn’t offer much inspiration—just raw news.  Contemporary real-life characters fall short of my expectations—so I don’t even bother.  Thus, my love of Star Wars and the reason I discuss it so much—especially lately is because it provides such motivation.  It is the creation of minds in need of something bigger than the human race is currently offering.  So I often vacation there to recharge my own batteries.  As such, it should come as no surprise that I had a viewing party at my home for the new Disney television series Rebels, which premiered with an introductory movie on Friday, October 03, 2014.

To celebrate I spent the day in the world of Star Wars in one fashion or another.  My wife and I played the Old Republic’s Galactic Starfighter online—which is always fun.  I then spent the morning playing X-wing Miniatures which is of course my latest passion.  I rounded out the time between those events up until the airing of Rebels playing a new game downloaded for free onto my iPad called Star Wars: Commander.  My brother texted me excitedly about it recently and after a few weeks of prodding, I finally downloaded it.  I didn’t give the free app much though because I didn’t think it would be any good—that it would be a kid’s game.  Let me say that it is far from a kid’s game—it is a wonderful war simulation of resource management and I have been wonderfully consumed by its contents.

Years ago—way back in the 90s I once spent an entire week playing an old game similar called Armada 2000—or something to that effect.  One of my nephews introduced it to me and it required the building of fleets by mining raw materials and going to war to conquer planets.  The graphics were rough, but the game content was wonderful.  Around that same time I started enjoying the various Sim City games which developed into a game called Outpost, which required you to terraform an entire alien planet by using the resources there to build a civilization.  I have also been a fan of the various Civilization games over the years including the most recent introduction.  Those are endlessly fun games of strategy and construction that are designed for those with a keen eye for productivity.  Never before in the history of the human race were such tools of resource management available to so many people.  The new Star Wars: Commander is all of those games wrapped up into one.  It is incredible—especially for a free app. It’s a whole new age that we’re living in where such a thing is offered as a simple download.  I can’t recall a time when I enjoyed blowing stuff up so much.

Star Wars: Commander lets you as a player pick a faction—either Rebel player or the Empire and build a base that must maintain an economy through your credit vaults while continually mining alloy for the construction of everything from factories to starships.   You have to build and maintain troop strength, engage in research and development, and deploy defense strategies as your base will constantly be attacked by other player’s bases looking for credits and alloy, and shield generation.  It is fairly involved for a game designed to be played on the go—anywhere and everywhere.  I’m used to playing those types of things on a PC locked in my room and not dressing for days.  This ability to put such a thing on a computer device that I carry in my jacket pocket is unreal to my previous generation eyes.

On that note as I have been playing Star Wars: Commander all week diligently—everywhere that I can really, in restaurants, in shopping malls, in the fabric stores as my wife shops for supplies for the many blankets and craft items she makes, I have been fascinated by how portable this new age of ours really is.  Commander is really a game that must be played against other players so it requires interaction.  The brilliance of the game is that the designers created the basic template, but most of the way the content is used is created by other players—leaving players to essentially let the game evolve through competition.  But it is the portability that I find so strangely interesting.  While shopping at Kenwood Mall with my wife and daughter at the Eddie Bauer store, I stood outside across from the Apple Store and marveled at how busy it was at 7:30 PM on a weekday evening.  Business was thumping inside and a line requiring service was outside the door.  It was amazing.  People were very active in looking at the various Apple products—everything from iPads, iPhones, to new computers.

I’m a huge fan of the iPad as I use mine everywhere for everything.  I use it primarily for maps, and for processing data on spreadsheets.  It is a remarkable device—there is no question about it.  I’m not so keen on the iPhone as I like to separate those two functions.  But Apple and its innovations are game changing aspects to human civilization.  Most of the people shopping in the store were there to pick up devices to allow them to have more versatility in texting their friends or updating their facebook accounts.  They weren’t looking for performance as much as being fashionable.  But, their interest is driving the market in new directions regardless of the quality of their desires.  It is largely because of that swarm in the Apple Store that Disney put out the new game Commander.  It’s the perfect game for a touch screen device.

The new game only enhanced my Star Wars day experience leading me up to the Disney Channel airing of the new Rebels cartoon—which was fabulous I might add.   I’ve been talking about it for a year now—and it was worth the wait.  Cartoons like that and content on the Apple products like what Commander is certainly elevates the expectations of entertainment.  But what’s more important is the reason people like Star Wars so much—as I’m far from alone on the topic.  Star Wars offers hope and expectations on human potential that is higher than it otherwise would be.  And Apple is there to provide a format to further the mythology into ways that were unfathomable a decade ago.  Star Wars: Commander just seven years ago would have cost $50 dollars for a PC title sold in a store like Gamestop.  Now it’s a free app.  The game makes its money off the impatience and mismanagement of its players.  For those who don’t know how to manage resources, they will pay extra for crystals to build up their defenses or increase their offensive mobility.  Many of the upgrades take several hours to implement, especially shield generators and alloy depots—but they can be sped up through the consumption of crystals and Disney sells them by the bag which I’m sure is generating millions upon millions of dollars.  I typically launch an attack from my base every three and a half minutes—and I have yet to meet the same player twice—that’s how many people are on the game.  I would say that it’s a successful enterprise.

For those who want to play, you can look me up when you arrive by typing in the name of Cliffhanger—the character from my first novel The Symposium of Justice.  Of course you know—I’m playing for the Rebels.

Rich Hoffman


White House Activism Against Corporations: A ridiculous argument against inversions

This is what happens when you get activists who think like communists in the White House. I received this email from them recently trying to build a consensus against the American corporation desire to create tax inversions for themselves to avoid the incredibly high corporate tax rates found in North America.  This is also what happens when corporations are demonized by a political class who wishes to believe that everyone underneath them is in the “middle class” and willingly submits to their gross miss management of national resources.  What the idiots who wrote the below letter conveniently forget is that it was they who spent too much money—not corporate desire to hang on to the profits they’ve earned that is the cause of the problem.  Read their ridiculous utterances here:

Here’s What Inversions Are Costing Us

You don’t get to pick your tax rate. Neither should corporations.

That’s why, earlier this week, the Treasury Department took initial steps to prevent U.S. corporations from using a tax maneuver to avoid paying taxes in America. This loophole — known as an “inversion” — lets a company avoid taxes by relocating their tax residence overseas while changing very little else about its operations or business.

And it’s costing Americans nearly $20 billion over the next decade — critical dollars that could grow and expand the middle class.

Take a look at why we are taking action to close the inversion tax loophole — then share it with everyone who needs to know.Inversions

Notice what type of presidents were in the White House during the periods of time shown on the graph.  Big government socialist types as opposed to conservatives.  When the White House says that it will cost $20 billion in lost revenue over the next decade what they really mean is that they have already promised too much money through mismanagement to future endeavors that cannot be paid for but through higher rates of taxation.  This is the same lunacy that comes from public school mismanagement when they sneak through school levies to pay for unfunded desires—like inflated wages, elaborate buildings, and ridiculously wonderful benefits packages.  What they all have in common is that they are government enterprises built by government minds that spend too much money so to remain in power—then expect tax payers to cover their costs out of some patriotic obligation.


What this is called ladies and gentlemen is “mismanagement” of tax payer resources—not obligatory sacrifices to strengthen a middle class of subjects worshiping the feet of the political class.  When they say this “is what inversions are costing us” they don’t mean……”us” as in you, me, rich and poor—they mean the political class who desires under a socialist mentality to rule over everyone else.  They also want a blank check to waste as much tax payer money as possible then expect payment by their subjects without complaint.  But to make matters worse, because corporations don’t have the ability to vote except through lobby power—the government targets them to pay a disproportionate amount of corporate tax by demonizing them into compliance.  However, corporations in this new international trading system that the government so proudly sponsored is voting with their feet and leaving America for oversea tax shelters to protect themselves from a grubby government desiring to steal all the profits gained through production.  This is the inversion process that the White House is complaining about and rather than deal with the problem they caused they are using email activism to attempt and build an argument of democracy against corporations to protect the financial burdens they already committed America to through mismanagement to pay.

These same fools in government almost in the very next sentence promise that they want to create jobs—yet their proposal is to create more government positions paid for by tax payers forgetting that the only real jobs that directly contribute to the GDP of a nation come from corporations and small businesses.  They neglect to inform anyone that it is their mismanagement that is not only spending too much money, but also pushing jobs out of America making unemployment un-naturally high.  Government is the cause of both problems.

It is truly arrogant for a political class to assume that nobody sees what they are up to, yet there it is directly from the White House to my email inbox.  They are that audacious to complain about the life blood of the American economy—corporations—then promise jobs to people was if they had them tucked away in their back pocket like a condemn intended for use in a whore house.  They are that ridiculously foolish.

Rich Hoffman


The Socialism of Liz Rogers: Why Mahogany’s failed in Cinncinnati

It was obvious that Liz Rogers was going to fail at Mahogany’s on the Banks when she gave the interview on the radio shown below. She stated that she was guided by faith, not sight and that she was destined to bring an African-American owned restaurant to the plush riverside development in Cincinnati. The city to encourage the endeavor threw a lot of money at her—which was unprecedented, because they wanted the politics of the deal. They wanted the feel good stories, progressive political support, and a success for minority owned businesses. Liz had a nice place in downtown Hamilton that was working, so developers wanted her to expand to a second location. But there was baggage with her from the start, which everyone ignored and the Mahogany’s deal turned out to be a disgrace. In the end the restaurant failed and Liz asked people not to judge her based on what she owed monetarily—but on her love for food. What?????????????????????

Liz Rogers lives in my community and I think is a nice lady. I think her intentions were good. But her business approach belongs in the Twilight Zone, expecting judgment based on her personal desires to cook food, and that she approaches the business with feelings—not thought. In other words her approach to the Banks deal was similar to saying standing before a tall wall, metaphorically, “I have faith that I will be lifted above and beyond that wall.” But the lift never comes leaving her standing in the same spot stuck with ineptitude. The proper approach would be to say, “I will construct a rope and climb over that wall.” That is a plan that can lead to a profitable enterprise. Having faith doesn’t do it. Faith can help you get up in the morning, but it won’t deliver tasks completed.

Now Liz is out of the Banks location and she is looking to make a deal with the city—which should have never been involved in the Rogers endeavor from the start. She is threatening to sue Cincinnati for her failure on the grounds that the types of development city government promised her would take place—which never quite manifested the way they proposed. What is unfathomably naive about her threat is that she actually believes that the fault of her business is the city’s problem. Her location was right next to The Holy Grail and was plugged numerous times on 700 WLW—most of the time in a favorable way regarding her food. She failed to retain the curiosity customers by making them into repeats. Good or bad press she has had loads and loads of free advertising—the name of Mahogany’s has been on every television station, radio station and received plenty of news print. She has had her chances to take a freak show and turn it into a legitimate business opportunity—which is much more opportunity than any other business have had in Cincinnati in years. Just getting the name out for a new enterprise is difficult at best.   If anything, the city gave her a golden opportunity to become gloriously rich—and she failed epically. The city responded to her threat with the following article:

The city of Cincinnati won’t take up Mahogany’s owner Liz Rogers‘ offer not to sue it in exchange for forgiving the balance of a $300,000 loan the city made for her to open the restaurant at the Banks.

“In a letter last week, the city expressed its position on this matter,” said Rocky Merz, a spokesman for City Manager Harry Black. “Due to the potential for litigation, we have nothing further to add. We wish Ms. Rogers all the best in her future endeavors.”

Rogers wrote a letter to the city offering not to sue it over promises she says were broken when she agreed to open a restaurant at the riverfront development, including that there would be a hotel and office workers there. She also proposed that for $12,000 the city would sell her the furniture and restaurant equipment the city’s $300,000 bought. Rogers, who said she would open another restaurant in Cincinnati, gave the city until Thursday to take the deal.

Mahogany’s closed last week after it was evicted by its landlord, NIC Riverbanks One. Rogers has denied allegations made in the eviction letter sent by the landlord.

It is obvious that Liz Rogers is a believer in socialism as she does not attribute her actions to success or failure of her business, but in the promises of government to provide or not provide. She brought with her business venture an obvious lack of embrace in capitalism which scared away her potential customers. She failed because of her philosophic position. She was the one given a gift, nearly a million dollars in opportunity—loads of free advertising and a site across from the Great American Ballpark and one of the hottest developments with residential living right over her head—nearly guaranteed customers if she produced a decent product. But, there was a lot of competition, and she couldn’t hack it—and due to her failure, she sought socialism and racism as the excuse. That is absolutely pathetic.

I didn’t write much about her at this site because part of me felt sorry for her, and I didn’t want to pile it on. I knew from the first time that I heard her speak that she would fail, so it didn’t come as a surprise to me when she did no matter how many opportunities were placed before her feet. But what did surprise me was that she actually believes she has the right to sue Cincinnati because of her failure. That is really astonishing and is a direct symptom of a very broken society that people actually believe such things. Liz Rogers failed because her product wasn’t very good. Her food may have been good, but the experience in dinning in her restaurant as opposed to other places did not have appeal to enough people. That is the whole issue. She was given an opportunity to give Cincinnati visitors at the Banks “soul food” and they rejected it. She may do better in Over-the-Rhine or even Forest Park, but at the Banks—people expect other options and they voted with their wallets. And she went out of business—and because she was not using her sight—she failed to make corrections to her presentation so to keep her customers and make them want to come back. Nobody wants to spend good money in a restaurant where the owner is a victim. They want to brush elbows with success—because it makes them feel good to do so. Instead of Mahogany’s Liz’s customers likely went on down to the Moerlein Brewhouse on the river and conducted their dining experience at that establishment for similar value for the dollar. It was up to Liz to figure out what they were doing and to adjust—but she didn’t. Instead she blamed everyone but herself for a failure that is in her sole possession. If the city government did anything wrong it was that they tried to help her in the first place giving false hope to a person who had not earned a chance that wasn’t theirs to give in the first place.

Rich Hoffman


The Grinding Hurt of Betrayal: John Aglialor’s ‘Atlas III’ interview with Nick Gillespie

The third and final installment, Who is John Galt? hits theaters on Friday, Sept. 12, 2014 and John Aglialoro sat down with Reason TV’s Nick Gillespie to discuss the completion of the Atlas Shrugged films, their negative critical reception, and the enduring influence of Ayn Rand’s thought. As usual when it comes to Gillespie, it was a good interview and covered a lot of ground. It is a tough task to adopt a film from a novel that means so much to so many people, yet a movie is the perfect gateway to bringing more people into the Objectivist philosophy. Many hard-core Rand fans from the novel want the salacious sex that Ayn Rand wrote about—which was greatly removed from John Aglialoro’s renditions. Personally, I’m grateful as the sex could easily overpower the story in such a movie and I appreciated the tastefulness that it was handled by the Atlas Shrugged trilogy.

Every time I watch Aglialoro in an interview it is easy to see the hurt behind his eyes. Like Rand, who thought that the unspoken and neglected businessmen would flock to her support of them after the release of her 1957 novel, most cowered in the darkness like idiots paralyzed by the political left into silence. Aglialoro during the second film premiered Atlas II in Washington D.C. right before the 2012 election. Not a single politician, not Ted Cruz, not Rand Paul and certainly not Vice-Presidential candidate Paul Ryan showed up for the movie as they tried to maintain their political distance—so not to have people from the left call them names. Ryan had been an open Ayn Rand supporter before being put on the national ticket with Mitt Romney. Nobody from the political class showed up in Washington D.C. to show their support of a conservative leaning movie featuring ideals that the political right should have openly embraced with great enthusiasm. Republicans played it safe and guess what………….they lost in the 2012 elections all across the nation.

I have felt the bite of that kind of pain a time or two, most recently when I was on 700 WLW radio dealing with a controversy—a sexist accusation by my political enemies who were trying to the same smear tactic used against Rush Limbaugh and Mitt Romney at the time. Unlike those guys, I defended my position proudly. In 2012 I was a spokesman for a group standing against higher school taxes, which was a very unpopular position. I had in my circle a number of high-profile movers and shakers and was proud of them for supporting such a controversial topic. My plan with the pro tax people was in full swing, they were attacking our side by calling us greedy businessmen, so I attacked back with the truth—that a majority of the pro tax advocates were fat assed, out-of-touched parents. Of course they didn’t like it—because the truth hurt. I meant for it to. So I was on the air ready to defend our position and those prominent local businessmen and politicians sent a press release to the station while I was on the air distancing themselves from me. The controversy I didn’t mind at all. The betrayal did bother me. I shut off interviews for the rest of the day as I recalibrated my position. It hurt terribly to trust people then watch them fall for the old liberal tricks of guilt abasement. I couldn’t let that hurt come out in my public statements—which is a really tough thing to do when an entire city is ready to pounce on your every word.

The motivations of those fearful dissidents are the same at every spectrum, from Ayn Rand, to John Aglialoro, to me—we have all been left at the alter by those we were trying to help. It feels like being cheated on by a spouse—just as you are declaring your love for that significant other, you learn that they have been doing the horizontal shuffle with the very people you are fighting—and it hurts. It hurts whether it is sex or politics—in both cases you end up screwed. It is that screwed look that Aglialoro has on his face with each interview he does. He was much more hopeful after Atlas I did respectable opening night numbers, but by the time Atlas III hit theaters he had a hurt look on his face from all the betrayals he had experienced over the last couple of years, while making the movie. For him he continued to make the movies even though very few supported the endeavor. The enemies of the movie were perplexed as to why he continued even though the films were box office failures and did not have majority support from the public. What those same people did not understand was that John Aglialoro made the movies for himself, not for the public. He did it to accomplish a task, not to win approval as a second-hander. Since most of society functions as second-handers, they don’t understand Aglialoro, or his movie. So there is sadness when he talks about the films. He knows as the words leave his mouth that nobody really is going to understand why he made the films—yet he does it anyway in a hope that something will change—someday.

Atlas III won’t be any different. People who understand it will love it, various others who have skin in some type of political game, even within Ayn Rand circles, will hate it. They’ll hate it for Aglialoro’s point of view in making the movie—they’ll complain about the lack of sex, the lack of depth, the lack of good actors, the lack of budget, the lack of public support, the lack of technical aptitude, and every lack of anything else they can think of. But what they can’t accuse John Aglialoro of is a lack of heart and determination. What he did was hard and deserves admiration in the face of much hurt which only those who have been betrayed in a similar fashion can understand.

Rich Hoffman


‘Who Is John Galt’ Vegas Premier: The Real life 20th Century Motor Companies

It is a shame that Leonard Peikoff and most of the people at the Ayn Rand Institute did not embrace more openly the John Aglialoro Atlas Shrugged films.  I’ve read Peikoff’s book on Objectivism and would have thought that he would have supported the endeavor which premiered in Las Vegas last night showing the third and final film—which is clearly the best of the three film series.  All the Atlas movies were good, but this third film certainly puts the proper end cap on the long cinematic journey which took so many years for Aglialoro to achieve.  The key to the third film is in meeting for the first time the long talked about John Galt and seeing the kind of life that he inspired in a hidden valley called Atlantis.  The Atlas Shrugged filmmakers have been very open to those who are part of their online world called Galt’s Gulch and after several years of work had a special showing for them in Vegas which was a wonderful idea.  As for the work of Ayn Rand, I can’t think of anywhere better that Objectivism has gained the most ground than with the group that has emerged out of Galt’s Gulch at the Atlas Shrugged web site—and that would not have happened without Aglialoro’s films or his team behind one of the most ambitions independent films ever done.image

The third film is titled, Atlas Shrugged Part III: Who is John Galt and is clearly a work of philosophy draped with a love story between Dagny Taggart and John Galt.  It has a wonderful message and for those who think in such a way was a comfortable place to spend a couple of hours.  For the rest of the world—those who live their lives as second-handers—they will hate the movie.  Because of the effort involved, I wish John Aglialoro would have had a larger presence from the Gulch and that online media buzz would have been more robust.  But it has been ignored by virtually everyone, including The Ayn Rand Institute which has done a fantastic job over the years of keeping Rand’s books published and teaching Objectivism to people hungry for a functioning philosophy that actually works.  I can’t think of a bigger Objectivist event than Atlas Shrugged Part III premiering in Vegas and opening to the world on September 12th, but on the morning of the premier, there was not a single mention of the film by the Institute even though they have their big benefit dinner in New York City on September 23rd.  The closest that they have is that Yaron Brook is one of the guest speakers who was also a consultant for the movie.  But there is no direct mention of Aglialoro or the new movie by the official gatekeepers of Ayn Rand’s legacy.

With that kind of in-fighting there is no way that the rest of the nation or the  world can be expected to get behind an ambitious project like a film adaption of one of America’s most monstrously successful novels.  Like it or not, Atlas Shrugged is the great American novel and is much better—and more relevant than any of Mark Twain’s work or John Steinbeck.  Atlas Shrugged is what America was and will always be about and those who wish to change that definition absolutely hate the novel and refuse to recognize it—even though the public has bought the book for over half a century on pure word of mouth.  It is the biggest underground classic in print, and the Ayn Rand Institute has helped make that so.  They will only benefit from the John Aglialoro film as viewers wanting to know more will buy the book to get more details after watching.

To understand Atlas Shrugged and specifically this third film I recently drove my son-in-law who moved here from socialist England through the city of Norwood, Ohio.  In the movie, John Galt gives a speech to the owners and workers of a manufacturing facility called the 20th Century Motor Company that is being overtaken by a socialist plan hatched by the company’s inherited owners.  The labor union adopts socialism at the company which destroys the plant leaving it vacated of any life within a few years.  What they made at the facility becomes quickly lost to history.  Driving through modern-day Norwood I showed my son-in-law how the same thing had happened to that poor city just north of Cincinnati, Ohio.  I showed him the vacant spot where the Cincinnati Milacron plant used to be.  I worked there when I was young and felt very much like a young John Galt—the speech in the film hit home to me and was all too autobiographical.  Shortly after I left Milacron, the company destroyed itself with socialism and is no longer there.  It used to be a large sprawling campus in Oakley, but now it is empty except for a few small office buildings.  Just a few miles to the west are the remains of the old General Motors plant that built Cameros during the hot selling 70s and 80s.  Now it is an empty parking lot.  Across the Norwood Lateral used to be the largest movie theater house in Cincinnati, the Showcase Cinemas of Norwood.   I used to see small art films there like Clint Eastwood’s White Hunter Black Heart which played nowhere else in the city.  It only played there because they had so many theaters they could afford to dedicate a few of them to pictures that were more philosophic than commercial.  Back then, it was the kind of theater that would have shown Atlas Shrugged Part III.  Now that theater is gone, it’s an empty parking lot.  As Cincinnati Milacron died and the General Motors plant along with many other smaller businesses all for the same reasons—the investment money moved north to flee the high taxes of the city and parasitic nature of local governments who gain fame for themselves by spending other people’s money.  Norwood is essentially a ghost town today after only 20 years of failed economic policy—just like the 20th Century Motor Company in the movie.  The only theater that Atlas is playing now is where the money is currently, about 20 miles north in Mason, Ohio at the Regal.  Many of the people who reside in neighborhoods around that theater moved from areas like Norwood years ago leaving only the parasites living through socialism to inhabit which collapsed the economy.  Some of those Mason people understand the message of Atlas Shrugged because they have been through it, so the movie is showing there.  But for the people of Norwood who are typically on welfare, jobless, and from families with several baby daddies coming in and out of their lives—the Objectivist message of the Atlas films are lost to them.

Burger King along with almost every large corporation is seeking to move their headquarters out of America for the same reasons that large companies closed in Norwood—the taxes were too high, and the socialism from their local governments were simply too intrusive, and costly.  America has a corporate tax rate of 39.1% which is the highest rate in the entire world which is simply ridiculous.  For anybody who has had to actually earn money it is known that for every dollar lost from productivity, that additional productivity must be generated to offset the cost.  For an average parasite that is just happy to have food in their bellies, and cable television to watch, they may not wish to be productive so to earn extra money to pay for nice cars, expensive vacations and a life style that is generally comfortable.  So they can’t conceive why a CEO would need millions of dollars to run a company because they have no concept of the risks involved in doing so, or the responsibility.  When the profitability of responsibility becomes no longer worth it, most CEO’s knowing that they cannot possibly generate enough sales to offset their margins will simply cash out and retire—doing essentially what John Galt and his friends did in the new Atlas film.  In the best cases they move their company somewhere where the tax rates are not so high, or they just shut down and retire off their earnings letting the world go to hell.  That’s what happened in Norwood leaving the residents there to deal with the mess they created by electing socialist community leaders who thought that taxation could always be proportionally increased.  They were wrong, the empty buildings and terrible real estate values are testimony.

When I was a kid my grandfather used to take pigs to slaughter at a meat market near Union Terminal.  Back in those days there were several breweries, packaging houses and much industry along the Western Hills Viaduct.   Now it is an area mired in poverty driven by an overload of the welfare system.  The Viaduct itself is falling apart and nobody can figure out where to get the money to fix it.  The Brent Spence Bridge just to the south of the Viaduct is also falling apart and needs replacement.  It is major highway artery from the north of the United States to the south, but there are no politicians with any answers even as the highway runs by Paul Brown Stadium which hosts only eight events a year during football season costing $455 million to build in the year 2000 numbers which equates out with inflation to $623 million.  Just the spike in inflation rates should be alarming in only 14 years.   But worst than that, it was some of the only new construction to take place in downtown Cincinnati in decades.  That construction is driven by pure entertainment value which is hardly sustainable for long-term growth and profitability.  There has to be industry which actually makes things in order to sustain other businesses and landmarks like the Western Hills Viaduct.  The city of Cincinnati is dying just like what was seen in Atlas Shrugged Part III.

Of course people who don’t wish to acknowledge these issues will hate the Atlas films for bringing it to their attention.  They wish to remain second-handers forever and don’t want to give up on their illusions of socialism.  But for the few who are bold enough to look at the situation squarely—and with honesty, Atlas Shrugged Part III is a blessing.  There are already an extreme minority who find that kind of subject matter enjoyable and they are lucky that John Aglialoro made a film for them.  It’s not financially profitable to do such a thing, but for a producer like Aglialoro, money can always be made.  What cannot be recovered is the American nation and if one truly does love their country—they would obviously try to save it.  The Atlas films are an attempt to save the country before everyone simply leaves.   The new Atlas film might be called Who Is John Galt, but I suspect that John Aglialoro has more in common with Dagny Taggert from the film than John Galt.  Aglialoro is still functioning in the world trying to warn people of what’s coming with his movie.  The people at the Atlas Society are already in Atlantis and hope to see it all crumble away—which is the likely anxiety between the two groups.

I thought all this while watching the scene where Dagny decided to leave Atlantis and return back to the world and fix her railroad problems.  John Galt, who is the leader in the Gulch decides to leave with her much to the shock of his friends.  Because of his attachment to Dagny, John Galt is put in danger of being looted off of once discovered because the world is desperate for someone with some kind of answer.  If Dangy had stayed put, it is likely that their paradise would survive forever as the world around them crumbled.  But because Dagny chose to leave and continue to fight—it brought John Galt back into the world to provide a deciding blow against socialism.  The Atlas Society wants to stay in the Gulch and John Aglialoro—at least a time or two more, wants to fight it out to save America.  And that is the crux of the matter.  It is a shame; because the Atlas Society has a lot that they could do and if they worked with the Atlas III film, would find that the cause of Objectivism is ripe for the many millions of empty minds out there looking desperately for something to fill them.  For the Atlas Society to not attach themselves to the film Atlas Shrugged Part III, they are missing a strategic opportunity that won’t easily come again.

As for where I stand in the film, it is the character Ragnar Danneskjold.  John Galt simply wants to cut off the parasites from their theft against the productive.  Ragnar wants to take back what was stolen along the way.

Rich Hoffman