Don Q Son of Zorro: A window into the past to see American history firsthand

I sometimes forget that a majority of the people in the world can only remember historical events ranging into the 1950s these days, so the history of how America arrived to where it is today is lost to them, except in history books and documentaries.  Of those it has only been during the last ten years that both took a hard look at the liberalism that seeped into American culture by the boat load during the 1930s to the 1950s.  For most people they have no concept of what America was like before The New Deal, or The Great Society–programs created by extremely progressive presidents.  People are completely unaware of what life was like when Woodrow Wilson attempted to crown himself king of America, riding on the coat tails of Teddy Roosevelt who tried with every fiber in his body to make America like Europe with his love or royalty and political hierarchy.

Equally baffling to people is the reason I think of the 1920s as the premier time for American ideals to come into fruition under the hands-off leadership of President Calvin Coolidge.  I forget that everyone does not practice with bullwhips and have a love for old movies that brought out the best of the Hollywood era, and paved the way for a future of mythmaking cinema that would deliver to the world ideals about freedom, honor, and tenacious respect.  After all, we live in the year 2013 and the days of Calvin Coolidge were a long time ago.  Society has “progressed” so much beyond those “primitive” times; at least that is the popular misconception of our day.

However, I would make the argument that American society has not advanced, as many believe, but is regressing toward the primitive mentality of mysticism, instead of away from it, and it is books, music, and movies that shape the politics of our age, which is why politicians have learned to control Hollywood with a short leash, and shared public relations resources.  I forget that I am probably the only human being within a thousand mile radius who has as one of the treasured literary classics called The Curse of Capistrano otherwise known as The Mark of Zorro by Johnston McCulley published in August of 1919.  That book is a window to a long forgotten time representing long forgotten and suppressed values that I cherish immensely.

I loved The Curse of Capistrano so much, as McCulley wrote the very first story of Zorro with such passion that I used his style as my template to The Symposium of Justice, which was my modern tribute to Zorro from The Curse of CapistranoThe Mark of Zorro is the classic adventure that not only launched a legend, but it built Hollywood with the very first brick.  Johnston’s Zorro took place in a bygone era of sprawling haciendas and haughty caballeros who suffer beneath the whip-lash of oppression.  Missions were pillaged, native peasants abused and innocent men and women were persecuted by the corrupt governor and his army.  But a champion of freedom riding the horse-trodden highways at night, his identity hidden behind a mask, the laughing outlaw Zorro who defied the tyrant’s might.  A deadly marksman and a demon swordsman, his flashing blade left behind the mark of the “Z” for all in authority to fear!  Reading the novel is like reading the thoughts of people from a different time, and compared to how things are today, they truly were.

As fate would have it Douglas Fairbanks bought up the rights to The Curse of Capistrano and turned the book into a silent movie in 1920 called The Mark of Zorro.  The movie was a smashing success as the Woodrow Wilson era of big progressive government came to an end, which without question found its way into plot of Johnston’s story.  The Warren G. Harding’s presidency was filled with scandal but good intentions leaving the man to die in office during 1923 leaving Calvin Coolidge to take over as President until 1929.  In 1925 Douglas Fairbanks made a sequel to The Mark of Zorro called Don Q Son of Zorro where he played not only the son of Zorro, but also the dad.  About 7 minutes into the film, Don Q states that his father, “Zorro was the greatest American there was.” The film was essentially about a class of progressive European ideals intersecting with American individualism.  It was a bench mark film for me and many of my whip friends because the stunts that Douglas Fairbanks did in the film served as the goal post for what all whip performers work off of to this very day.  The bullwhip was so important to Douglas Fairbanks in Don Q Son of Zorro that it is essentially the most memorable part of his character.

Going back and watching that film is a time machine into a different time and place when people thought a lot differently about things than they do today.  So to share that experience as I have been doing with other bullwhip related feature films lately, I have put the entire film Don Q Son of Zorro up here for your viewing pleasure.  The first impression many people have about a silent film is that they can’t get used to not having people speak.  A silent film relied exclusively on music and the action on a screen to make the performance come to life.  It’s kind of like reading a book that is in motion.  Douglas Fairbanks knew that the way to capture his audiences’ attention was to perform stunts that they could never think of doing.  The stunt work he performed in Don Q Son of Zorro is unparalleled then and since.  Since 1925 Zorro, has been associated with a bullwhip because of Douglas Fairbanks’ work in Don Q.  This would go on in film for the next 80 years.  I have watched Don Q Son of Zorro many times, and because of that, I have seen what the world was in the 1920s and studied hard what values built Hollywood before the incursion of communism that spread during the Red Decade as Ayn Rand warned about in the late 1940s along with Walt Disney.  CLICK HERE TO REVIEW.   So do yourself a favor and watch Don Q Son of Zorro parts one and two below, and compare the values shown in the film with the watered down valor of today.

Part II

It was on these kinds of films from Douglas Fairbanks that Hollywood would grow into what it is today a booming town of entertainment where left leaning politicians recognized more quickly the value of capturing a message and shaping it with influence so to achieve political gains.  But things were not always so watered down.    I know about these films and novels of this era because of my exposure to bullwhip art, and more specifically Western Arts.  Actors, and stuntmen like Douglas Fairbanks are the kind of people who built the foundations of Western Arts, so they are revered in a similar way that progressives think fondly of such as Woodrow Wilson.

We live in an age where we think that movies are old if they were done in the 1970s, but in essence movies have been copying off each other since the 1940s.  They are telling the same stories, but just telling them with a bit more polish then a silent film was able to capture.  In Don Q Son of Zorro Douglas Fairbanks puts out a candle in one take with a 10’ bullwhip using an overhead flick move, not easy to do.  For a project I did for a camera crew in Hollywood a few years ago, I was tasked with putting out a cigarette on the ground with a 12’ bullwhip and it took me 14 takes.  (I was doing it backwards so I don’t feel badly about it.)  But the whip stunts done in Don Q were simply light years ahead of their time and wouldn’t be even attempted again with such scope until The Mask of Zorro in 1998 starring Anthony Hopkins and Antonio Banderas.   It took Steven Spielberg to executive produce the project through his Amblin studio.  The film had been in the works as early as 1992 with Spielberg wanting to direct the film with Sean Connery playing the older version of Zorro.  Even so, it took 6 years to get the film done with Spielberg working hard to make it happen even with all the strings available for him to pull.  As good as the film was, it was essentially a dusted off version of Don Q Son of Zorro as both Spielberg and George Lucas are great lovers of classic cinema, and they worked damn hard to make The Mask of Zorro an honorable tribute to the late, great Douglas Fairbanks—particularly with the whip work.

Everything starts with an idea, and that idea started with Johnston McCulley writing the 1919 novel The Curse of Capistrano with so much passion against government statism that it practically built Hollywood with its effort.  And if it wasn’t for that novel there would have never been a movie called The Mark of Zorro and there would have never been a Don Q Son of Zorro.  There would have been no Republic serials, there would have been no Disney Zorro–there would have been no Lone Ranger.  Without Douglas Fairbanks and his great effort in Don Q Son of Zorro there would not be a bullwhip movement alive today where a handful of people scattered throughout the world are keeping alive an idea of America how it was before politics shifted heavily to the slide of the progressives, and made reality what many feared during the time that The Curse of Capistrano was written, where oppression from corrupt governors was feared, and a clash with European nobility was at war with rugged American individualism.  Don Q Son of Zorro is not just a film that has great whip stunts, but is a window into a time where America was on the brink of success, before the Red Decade, before World War II, before Vietnam, before most Americans even knew what the crazy concept of European socialism was.  In Don Q Son of Zorro there is a hope that there will always be a hero who resists the tyranny of oppression with the charisma and physical ability of the great Douglas Fairbanks.

It is up to those of us who can look through that open window and learn from history, and do in reality what was thought of on the pages of Johnston McCulley’s The Curse of Capistrano, and keep the ideas of freedom alive that characters like Zorro represented, a champion of freedom riding the horse-trodden highways at night under a full moon, his identity hidden behind a mask, as the laughing outlaw Zorro defies the tyrant’s might with the crack of a whip, and the mark of a “Z”!

Rich Hoffman

“Justice Comes with the Crack of a Whip!”

www.tailofthedragonbook.com

‘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

———————————————————-

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

Doc Thompson Rips the IRS: NTEU labor union gives employees $70 million in bonuses

If you want to hear some absolutely hilarious radio commentary, listen to the clip below, it is well worth your time.  Doc Thompson and Skip LeCombe during their usual Blaze Radio Network show from 6 AM to 9 AM broadcast all over the world twice a day blasted the IRS for the recent issuing of over $70 million dollars in bonuses to their unionized employees.  Many people do not realize that the IRS is unionized work force under the National Treasury Employees Union otherwise known as the (NTEU).  So even though there is government furloughs and closed tours through the White House due to financial constraints, the IRS regardless of performance by its employees through their ridiculous collective bargaining agreements are receiving bonuses of an extraordinarily high amount.  Doc breaks down the math in the broadcast below, about 5 minutes into the segment.  But first Doc and Skip bring news of a terrorist summer camp that is quite serious, but is delivered with the usual Doc Thompson ability to make even the most sinister concepts more digestible with his rambunctious sense of humor.  For long time readers here who remember Doc Thompson when he was on 700 WLW, he was functioning under severe handcuffs.  Now that he is with The Blaze and reporting to Glenn Beck at Mercury Entertainment, he has freedom that any radio personality would love to have, which is to the benefit of listeners everywhere.  The Blaze is available 24 hours a day through streaming audio, and is an experiment from Glenn Beck which broadcasts like any other radio station with news at the top and bottom of every hour.  So enjoy this small sample from Doc’s recent show about the IRS bonuses that will make you laugh, but at the same time make you extremely angry.

Doc and Skip were one of the first news outlets to break the IRS bonuses story, but Forbes had a wonderful article about it written by Kelly Phillips Erb which can be seen in its entirety at the link below:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2013/06/20/defying-directive-irs-set-to-pay-out-70-million-in-employee-bonuses/

I included this link not just because the article was good, but the comments at the end were fantastic.  One comment summed up the situation at the IRS remarkably well, even though I don’t agree with the writer at all—the comment reminded me of the same types of diatribes that were uttered when we begin to analyze collective bargaining agreements among public school teachers as being the cause of continuous tax increase requests.  The comment from Peter Reilly shown below made the argument that the IRS needs incentives like great bonuses and pensions to attract “top talent.” This brings up a whole list of problems.  But before getting into them, have a look at what he said:

Peter J Reilly, Contributor 1 day ago

For its top people the IRS has to compete in a labor market that pays much better than the IRS. There was recently published list of the top 1,000 paid federal employees. Number 1000 made just over $200,000 per year. Nobody on the list worked for the IRS.

In a regional accounting firm I know of there was a term for partners who made around $200,000 – the bottom quartile. The top quartile probably made about what the lowest paid partners in national firms make. And this is mere CPAs, never mind tax attorneys.

I think very few people go into tax work of any sort based on the sort of inner call that might lead someone to be a physician, a priest or a soldier. It’s clean work with no heavy lifting that pays pretty well. You’ve got to do something to feed your family.

Part of the tax profession is an arms race between people gaming the system and people trying to keep the gaming with reasonable bounds. Both sides require the same knowledge base, education and some common skill sets. In a free democratic society the top gamers will always make more money than the other side.

Working for the IRS might get you a better life work balance and a pension which might make it a better deal at the lower and middle levels, but the Service is at a huge disadvantage in retaining top talent.

For those of us who want a smaller, and more efficient government no matter if the employee is a local school teacher working in public school, or an IRS agent, when the pay and compensation to government work is equal or better than private sector work, then top talent will seek the government job.  Reilly’s comment assumes that the IRS needs to have top talent in order to function efficiently.  Without question, the NTEU union has made the same argument for its union members that the school teachers, police departments, and other unionized federal workers have made, that the service they provide is important, and that only through collective bargaining does America get the highest quality product.

Well, anybody with a brain knows this kind of thinking is ridiculously foolish, and the fun that Doc Thompson and Skip had in picking the theory to pieces was well justified.    The way the system works now is that top talent is seduced to work for government because the pay is so good, and the retirement packages are better than anywhere in the world.  That top talent is ruined in the non-competitive government environment where collective bureaucracy rule and individual achievement is frowned upon.  Even the best top talent in the world will never make a collective oriented organization function miraculously well when all individuals serve the system of employment rather than the system serving the individuals that make it work.   Within a few years of employment, most of the bright-eyed top talent which is employed by the government learns their place in the pecking order, and stop trying to be ambitious, and instead just bide  their time, collect their paycheck, and prepare for their retirements, and eventual deaths.

The way things should work is that no federal employee should be unionized.  Government also should not pay more than the private sector.  Government work offers a security that is not duplicated in private sector work, so the pay should be much lower.  Pay should be assessed based on risk level, not statist power.  In this way, the private sector should pay a lot more than any government work so that those who wish to make more money will leave government, not join it.  If any worker wants to waste their life as a government employee, they should be paid a bare minimum wage in trade for the security of the job.  Then and only then will government ever get smaller, and government workers will vote with their minds and not their pocket books.  It is the government type employees who vote to keep people like President Obama in power not because they like his socialist policies, but because he is their boss.  So long as big government politicians are in office in Washington, job security is ever-present in their positions.  And so long as government employees are in a union, they can act as a socialist collective to get bonuses, pay and pensions that they do not deserve.    There will always be apologists like the commentator Reilly who believe that the IRS needs top talent to function—to catch those who are “gaming” the system.  Well, this isn’t true.  Turn the tax collecting system to a flat tax, and simplify the code, and suddenly sophisticated accountants with a broad knowledge of the complicated tax code wouldn’t be needed.

I was at a dinner event recently where a retired FBI agent was attempting to grab the same bottle of wine that I was out of a chilled bucket.  I wasn’t in the mood for beer, or any kind of soft drink and the food was too good to just have water with it, so I wanted wine.  The agent pointed at the bottle I had in my hand and asked, “Is that Chateau d’Yquem Sauternes?  Here let me open it for us.”  I looked at the label and tried to identify the label which was written mostly in French and replied, “Here’s your crushed grapes.  You tell me.”  The old federal worker of course wanted to display to me his knowledge of wine, and inform me of his extensive knowledge of them gained from around the world.  All he succeeded in doing was reminding me that he came to such knowledge not by the merit of his work, but by years of kissing ass to work his way up the FBI chain attending little gatherings where expensive wines were tossed into chilled buckets like water bottles in a cooler for a picnic.  That mentality does not make the people individually evil, just instruments of collective statism.  I felt sorry for that particular FBI agent.  His years of work had brought him to a retirement where he knew the names of French wine, but was unable to help a child thread twin string through a kite.  He was very happy to joke about his lack of aviation knowledge declaring that such an endeavor required the services of an engineer, not an old FBI agent—then everyone laughed, except for me.

I have seen the same behavior in retired school teachers, retired military personnel, and especially retired bureaucrats.  They want to feel that their life has some meaning, especially at the end of it, because their careers offered them nothing of any intellectual substance.  They simply showed up at work every day and their labor union did all their fighting for them, so all they had to do was collect their pay, and plan social events with their co-workers using their discretionary income to purchase bottles of wine that other people didn’t have access to–get drunk and reminisce about their wild and crazy days during high school.  Those same federal workers plan their vacations each year to Key West where they attend Fantasy Fest living out their most pent-up sexual fantasies.  Walk Duval Street every October and interview the topless 50-year-old women, or the pot-bellied IRS cubical worker of 30 years who has traded in their suit for a woman’s dress and wig pretending to be a girl during the famous parade.

Check it out for yourself at the following link.  The people who attend that event are upper middle-class types—and those are a creation of government, former FBI agents, school teachers, cops, IRS employees, politicians, adults who spent their entire adult lives adapting to a collective hive who can retire at age 55 and have money to spend because tax payers gave it to them through their labor unions.  If I had to bet, I would say the number of people attending Fantasy Fest in Key West were just over 80% government employees.

http://www.fantasyfest.com/

The situation is endemic in all federal agencies, but is especially prevalent at the IRS which should be completely dismantled and replaced with a flat tax.  But it won’t because the NTEU union has too much power, including organizing a campaign against the Tea Party from The White House.  The next step with these types is to get together over sundown meetings in each other’s back yards and squabble about what bottle of wine to pull from the wine bucket, as such trivia is all that matters to their bureaucratic mindsets after a dozen or more years of employment by the federal government.  Just think how many bottles of Chateau d’Yquem Sauternes the IRS workers will be able to purchase with their $70 million dollars in bonuses on top of a salary that is already pushing six figures.

If it’s not evident why the Tea Party wants to reign in the costs of the federal government it is to get control of this kind of statist mentality from employees who should be working for the private sector instead of government.  The only beneficiaries to such unionized arrangements is the political machine of Democrats (socialists) who collect the union dues for the re-election of statist candidates, the union workers who get paid a lot of money to do very little, and the wine makers in France who sell most of their stock to retired federal workers because that’s who buys their product.  It is in times like these that we should all be thankful that there are people like Doc Thompson on the radio to bring stories about such abuses to light, because without such a radio personality, the abuse would continue on unreported.

Rich Hoffman

“Justice Comes with the Crack of a Whip!”

www.tailofthedragonbook.com

‘Coolidge’ by Amity Shlaes: Government wanted Stalin, the Tea Party wants Calvin

So what is it that the Tea Party wants in a president, or for that matter in a government?  Do we want a royal prince to fly all about the world to kiss the rings of kings, queens and ass clowns?  No.  Do we want a political class of acadmianuts to dictate to us a morality derived one half from unproven faith, and one half scientific scholarships based on incomplete analysis from intelligentsia?  No.  Do we want a government with no concept of growth, who can do nothing but over consume until they are bed-ridden mounds of flesh that cannot even get up to walk?  No.  But when in history was there ever a president who did not exhibit these traits?  The answer of course is Calvin Coolidge who took office as vice-president in 1920 and became president in 1923 when Warren Harding died.   Coolidge is one of the few presidents who left office in 1929 with a government smaller than when he came in.  His time in the White House was quit and relatively uneventful.  However, his handling of the economy led to a surge in laissez-faire capitalism after the over-reaching years of the Woodrow Wilson regime took American into the roaring twenties.  My good friend Matt Clark interviewed Amity Shlaes who wrote a wonderful biography on Calvin Coolidge simply titled Coolidge.  Watch the video of that interview here to learn more.

John Calvin Coolidge, Jr. (July 4, 1872 – January 5, 1933) was the 30th President of the United States (1923–1929). A Republican lawyer from Vermont, Coolidge worked his way up the ladder of Massachusetts state politics, eventually becoming governor of that state. His conduct during the Boston Police Strike of 1919 thrust him into the national spotlight and gave him a reputation as a man of decisive action. Elected in his own right in 1924, he gained a reputation as a small-government conservative, and also as a man who said very little.

Coolidge restored public confidence in the White House after the scandals of his predecessor’s administration, and left office with considerable popularity.[1] As a Coolidge biographer put it, “He embodied the spirit and hopes of the middle class, could interpret their longings and express their opinions. That he did represent the genius of the average is the most convincing proof of his strength.”[2] Some later criticized Coolidge as part of a general criticism of laissez-faire government.[3] His reputation underwent a renaissance during the Ronald Reagan Administration, but the ultimate assessment of his presidency is still divided between those who approve of his reduction of the size of government programs and those who believe the federal government should be more involved in regulating and controlling the economy.[4]

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

Critics of the way Coolidge shrunk the federal government of course were in love with the severe micromanaging of the government that was being displayed by Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union.  Coolidge would get the blame for The Great Depression which began in the United States in 1929 after Coolidge’s presidency ended.  However, the cause of the depression was the global fascination with socialism, and hard-core communism which extended to every corner of the world prior to World War II.  In the United States, the period after Coolidge’s White House term was called The Red Decade, because of the spread of communist ideas into mainstream thought.

The Red Decade was a term coined by journalist and historian Eugene Lyons to describe a period in American history in the 1930s characterized by a widespread infatuation with communism in general and Stalinism in particular. Lyons believed this idolization of Joseph Stalin and exultation of Bolshevik achievements to have reached its high point in 1938, running deepest amongst liberals, intellectuals, and journalists and even some government and federal officials.

Lyons argues that American intellectuals gave the then-Stalinist Soviet Union (and by extension, Stalinism) a certain international goodwill and respectability that it did not deserve.

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

Much like the failure in modern America to identify the threat of radical Islamic government ambitions, the political left during the Coolidge years failed to identify the downside of communism which was not reported to the public in the newspapers they controlled, and radio broadcasts they voiced.  Stalin represented the opposite form of government that Coolidge ran, which has delivered America to the doorstep of tyranny ever since the 1930s.  Intellectuals training America’s youth in colleges all over the world had bought into the seduction of Joseph Stalin as they found Calvin Coolidge’s small-government ideas appalling to their statist desires.

Joseph Stalin or Iosif Vissarionovich Stalin (Russian: Иосиф Виссарионович Сталин; born Ioseb Besarionis je J̌uḡašvili, Georgian: იოსებ ბესარიონის ძე ჯუღაშვილი, pronounced [iɔsɛb bɛsariɔnis dze dʒuɣaʃvili]; 18 December 1878[1] – 5 March 1953) was the de facto leader of the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s until his death in 1953. Among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who took part in the Russian Revolution of 1917, Stalin was appointed General Secretary of the party’s Central Committee in 1922. He subsequently managed to consolidate power following the 1924 death of Vladimir Lenin through expanding the functions of his role, all the while eliminating any opposition. He held this nominal post until abolishing it in 1952, concurrently serving as the Premier of the Soviet Union after establishing the position in 1941.

Under Joseph Stalin’s rule, the concept of “socialism in one country” became a central tenet of Soviet society. He replaced the New Economic Policy introduced by Lenin in the early 1920s with a highly centralised command economy, launching a period of industrialization and collectivization that resulted in the rapid transformation of the USSR from an agrarian society into an industrial power.[2] However, the economic changes coincided with the imprisonment of millions of people in Soviet correctional labour camps[3] and the deportation of many others to remote areas.[3] The initial upheaval in agriculture disrupted food production and contributed to the catastrophic Soviet famine of 1932–1933, known as the Holodomor in Ukraine. Later, in a period that lasted from 1936–39, Stalin instituted a campaign against alleged enemies of his regime called the Great Purge, in which hundreds of thousands were executed. Major figures in the Communist Party, such as the old Bolsheviks, Leon Trotsky, and several Red Army leaders were killed after being convicted of plotting to overthrow the government and Stalin.[4]

In August 1939, Stalin entered into a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany that divided their influence within Eastern Europe, but Germany later violated the agreement and launched a massive invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941. Despite heavy human and territorial losses, Soviet forces managed to halt the Nazi incursion after the decisive battles of Moscow and Stalingrad. After defeating the Axis powers on the Eastern Front, the Red Army captured Berlin in May 1945, effectively ending the war in Europe for the Allies.[5][6] The Soviet Union subsequently emerged as one of two recognized world superpowers, the other being the United States.[7] The Yalta and Potsdam conferences established communist governments loyal to the Soviet Union in the Eastern Bloc countries as buffer states, which Stalin deemed necessary in case of another invasion. He also fostered close relations with Mao Zedong in China and Kim Il-sung in North Korea.

Stalin led the Soviet Union through its post-war reconstruction phase, which saw a significant rise in tension with the Western world that would later be known as the Cold War. During this period, the USSR became the second country in the world to successfully develop a nuclear weapon, as well as launching the Great Plan for the Transformation of Nature in response to another widespread famine and the Great Construction Projects of Communism. In the years following his death, Stalin and his regime have been condemned on numerous occasions, most notably in 1956 when his successor Nikita Khrushchev denounced his legacy and initiated a process of de-Stalinization. He remains a controversial figure today, with many regarding him as a tyrant;[8] however, popular opinion within the Russian Federation is mixed.[9][10][11]

Stalin, as head of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, consolidated near-absolute power in the 1930s with a Great Purge of the party that was justified as an attempt to expel “opportunists” and “counter-revolutionary infiltrators”.[42][43] Those targeted by the purge were often expelled from the party, however more severe measures ranged from banishment to the Gulag labor camps to execution after trials held by NKVD troikas.[42][44][45]

In the 1930s, Stalin apparently became increasingly worried about the growing popularity of the Leningrad party boss Sergei Kirov. At the 1934 Party Congress where the vote for the new Central Committee was held, Kirov received only three negative votes, the fewest of any candidate, while Stalin received at least over a hundred negative votes.[46][47] After the assassination of Kirov, which may have been orchestrated by Stalin, Stalin invented a detailed scheme to implicate opposition leaders in the murder, including Trotsky, Kamenev and Zinoviev.[48] The investigations and trials expanded.[49] Stalin passed a new law on “terrorist organizations and terrorist acts” that were to be investigated for no more than ten days, with no prosecution, defense attorneys or appeals, followed by a sentence to be executed “quickly.”[50]

Thereafter, several trials known as the Moscow Trials were held, but the procedures were replicated throughout the country. Article 58 of the legal code, which listed prohibited anti-Soviet activities as counterrevolutionary crime, was applied in the broadest manner.[51] The flimsiest pretexts were often enough to brand someone an “enemy of the people“, starting the cycle of public persecution and abuse, often proceeding to interrogation, torture and deportation, if not death. The Russian word troika gained a new meaning: a quick, simplified trial by a committee of three subordinated to NKVD –NKVD troika– with sentencing carried out within 24 hours.[50] Stalin’s hand-picked executioner, Vasili Blokhin, was entrusted with carrying out some of the high-profile executions in this period.[52]

Many military leaders were convicted of treason and a large-scale purge of Red Army officers followed.[54] The repression of so many formerly high-ranking revolutionaries and party members led Leon Trotsky to claim that a “river of blood” separated Stalin’s regime from that of Lenin.[55] In August 1940, Trotsky was assassinated in Mexico, where he had lived in exile since January 1937; this eliminated the last of Stalin’s opponents among the former Party leadership.[56]

With the exception of Vladimir Milyutin (who died in prison in 1937) and Joseph Stalin himself, all of the members of Lenin’s original cabinet who had not succumbed to death from natural causes before the purge were executed.

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

The Great Depression was caused by communism and the over-tampering of economies by left-leaning governments.  Stalin was the exact opposite of Calvin Coolidge who presided over one of the best periods of economy the United States ever experienced even handcuffed with the Prohibition policies created during the Wilson Progressive Era.  Stalin and his influence throughout the world articulated by seduced journalists created the Great Depression during the Red Decade in America as the statist architects of government wanted to carry America as far away from Calvin Coolidge as possible.

The political left and even many on the political right have found themselves shaped in 2013 intellectually, philosophically, morally, and even ideologically by the events mentioned above.  America never recovered from this period of the The Red Decade, because immediately after was World War II, then a brief period of economic boom built off post war economics in the 1950s.  Then the communists were back at it with more statist plans coming again through American colleges during the 1960s.  The rest is history and indicate a very gradual slide toward complete statism exulted by Joseph Stalin who many intellectuals are glad to support the death, destruction and economic depressions so to witness the equality given to all by communism.

Calvin Coolidge was the shining example of what America could produce in a manager in the Executive Branch.  He wasn’t a glory seeker, nor did he in any way desire to be viewed as a king.  He simply wanted to work hard on behalf of the country and leave his office better than he found it—and smaller.  If history tells any kind of coherent story it is that no matter how good a president is, or no matter how efficient the government, there will always be those threats to individual liberty who will gladly trade tyranny for some measure of security.  There is safety in collectivism that is appealing to the weak heart and mind, and there will always be these types of people in a democracy who will vote for more statism through perpetually bigger government.  And when things go wrong with their plans, even if they occur in an entirely different decade, they will blame somebody else.  In our modern-day it is the incompetent manager in Barack Obama who still five years after taking office is blaming George W. Bush for his failing economy that is cause by his socialist tampering.  And so too has history as it was written by liberals, college professors and social scum bags portrayed Joseph Stalin as a saint in spite of the millions of deaths caused by communism, and placed the blame of The Great Depression on the doorstep of Silent Cal, the American president who knew to stay as far away from government tampering as possible to give the economy a chance to grow, which it did.

It is important to know history, and those in the Tea Party are learning.  It is for that reason that they find Calvin Coolidge so appealing, and the model for how government should be run going into the 21st Century.  Without the methods of a future Calvin Coolidge type as President of the United States, all projected government activity in America is destined to bankrupt themselves because of their roots in socialism that began as far back as The Red Decade—a period of time created by the political left to answer the prosperity of Calvin Coolidge, one of the greatest presidents that America never knew about—which is how it’s supposed to be.


You can find Amity Shlaes book Coolidge at the following link:

http://www.amazon.com/Coolidge-Amity-Shlaes/dp/0061967556

Rich Hoffman

“Justice Comes with the Crack of a Whip!”

www.tailofthedragonbook.com

Liberty Township Tea Party Joins in Law Suit Against IRS: Seeking justice from an uncontrolled tyranny

Press Release as sent:  Liberty Township Tea Party Joins in Law Suit Against IRS   

 

Today June 25, 2013 the Liberty Township Tea Party official joined a law suit with the ACLJ, American Center for Law and Justice, in seeking action against the IRS.

 The ACLJ filed the amended complaint in our lawsuit against the IRS and the government officials involved in the unconstitutional targeting of conservative groups.

Here is a copy of our press release discussing our amended complaint and our now 41 clients involved in the legal challenge: http://aclj.org/free-speech-2/jay-sekulow-aclj-now-represents-41-conservative-groups-in-federal-lawsuit-against-irs

Here is the online link to the redacted version of our amended complaint: http://media.aclj.org/pdf/tea-party-complaint-amended.pdf

 “Plaintiffs seek a declaratory judgment that the Defendants unlawfully delayed and obstructed Plaintiffs’ applications for a determination of tax-exempt status by means of conduct that was based on unconstitutional criteria and impermissibly disparate treatment of Plaintiffs in violation of Plaintiffs’ rights under the First and Fifth Amendments to the United States Constitution and the Administrative Procedure Act.  Defendants unlawfully delayed and thereby effectively denied approval of Plaintiffs’ applications for tax exempt status by means of a comprehensive, pervasive, invidious and organized scheme that purposefully established unnecessary and burdensome inquiries and scrutiny of Plaintiffs’ applications based solely upon Plaintiffs’ political viewpoints (or Defendants’ assumption of Plaintiffs’ viewpoints, based on their organizational names). “

The Liberty Township Tea Party applied for 501c3 status with the IRS in May of 2010.  Our Tea Party was modeled after the League of Women Voters with the goal of encouraging the community to educate themselves in the political process.  After three years and answering the one hundred seven questions asked of us the application has been neither approved nor rejected.  The Liberty Township Tea Party began the process of applying for this application with faith in the government agency to process the application in a timely manner.  That faith in the government’s ability has been tested.  Our group is premised on the goal of smaller government.  The IRS’s inability to make a decision, their intrusive, illegal politically motivated questioning prove to us that our bureaucracies are bloated and our representatives have failed miserably in controlling the agencies they have created.  Our right to free speech and free assembly has been a bridged.

           

Liberty Township web site:  libertytownshipteaparty.org

Rich Hoffman

“Justice Comes With The Crack of a Whip’!”

www.tailofthedragonbook.com

Hilarious ‘Man of Steel’ Review by The Washington Post: The exact reason that American society is failing

One of the reasons I like movies so much, especially ones like Man of Steel is that they challenge social beliefs and the standards of our day.  Prior to the release of Man of Steel, progressive statist lovers who relish themselves in the entertainment industry like maggots on spoiled food had written poor reviews about the new Superman movie basically saying that Kal-El, as he was portrayed in the film, was too good to be believable.  This is a remarkable statement and if one takes the time to let it sink in just a bit, is it any wonder that our society is so broken, so crime ridden, so morally and financially bankrupt?  In spite of the critics, Man of Steel has soared to extraordinary box office success which for me is a social vote against the attempt of progressives to steer our society into more statist philosophy.  When as many people show up to see a movie like Man of Steel in such a short period of time, it is a flat our rejection of the kind of statist culture that is being offered by modern-day intelligentsia.   But the king of negative reviews that I found absolutely intriguing is the one below from Alexandra Petri from The Washington Post.  Apparently the Man of Steel hit a really raw nerve with her, which is good because it shows what these types of people really believe in their hearts.  If I had to guess based on the review by Alexandra, I would say she came from a broken home, found herself passed out and drunk at a party more than once not able to find her cloths, and is having a hard time maintaining a stable relationship with a man.  She is a product of the progressive era, and the public schools that raise millions of children to believe in the same types of diabolical behavior patterns.  Because she thinks in such a way is why the Washington Post hired her to begin with, as she can write articles in a way that the masses can understand—or at least thinks they understand until something like Man of Steel comes along and shows society how far they have fallen from the tree of goodness.  For some, they yearn to take steps in their life to be closer to the ideal of Superman.  For others like Alexandra Petri, they find the idea of Superman to be utterly perplexing, out-dated, and an image that fills them with guilt, instead of hope.  Read her article for yourself.  I put the whole article up with a link at the end.

 

Man of Steel — have we outgrown Superman?

By Alexandra Petri, Published: June 20, 2013 The Washington Post

I dislike Superman.

Let me rephrase that.

I don’t like Superman.

I understand that he is America, or Jesus, or both at the same time, with Maximum Levels of Allegory and slightly better hair.

But who is he? A concatenation of catchphrases with perfect teeth and rippling muscles.

He’s perfect, and like anything perfect, he’s bland.

And here I thought it was just Brandon Routh that was the problem.

No, even in the gritty reboot “Man of Steel” currently In Theaters near you, he’s a problem. I saw the movie feeling a sense of obligation. It’s Superman. We love Superman. Of course we’re seeing Man of Steel.

But he feels dated. Everyone else these days is custom — flawed, just like you and me. Superman is one-size-fits-all perfection.

It’s not that he possesses so many virtues. As W. H. Auden said, “A vice in common can be the ground of a friendship but not a virtue in common. X and Y may be friends because they are both drunkards or womanizers but, if they are both sober and chaste, they are friends for some other reason.”

Superman lacks vices. At a critical moment in this summer’s “Man of Steel,” trying to sap his fighting spirit, someone yells, “OH YEAH? Well, you have a MORAL COMPASS and I DON’T!” As taunts go, this is only marginally more menacing than yelling, “OH YEAH? WELL, YOU HAVE REALLY NICE TEETH!” There’s nothing to insult.

Superman is your friend with a truck.

You cultivate his acquaintance in case you ever need help moving or a ride to a wine tasting in the country or defense against alien attack. But you wouldn’t want to sit next to him at dinner. You invite him to your wedding on the off-chance he will turn some of the water into wine. But what do you say to him?

Superman is genetically gifted to the point that he has never actually been required to make conversation. Late in the film, he whips a drone out of the sky, and an officer smiles blandly at him. “He’s kinda hot,” she says. What else can you say?

Let me insert the caveat that I am a fair-weather comics fan. I am the sunshine patriot and summer filmgoer. I didn’t grow up reading the issues or even watching Smallville; maybe there is an iteration of the hero that answers these questions satisfactorily.

At least in the film, his back story is depressing because it turns out he’s not just special for Earth — he’s special for his home planet Krypton, too. “The first natural birth in centuries!” his Space Dad, Russell Crowe, proclaims. Apparently he contains the lives of all future Kryptonians encoded in his body somewhere. It is a pity they forgot to include any personality with that.

But what personality could you fit?

Personality is something you are forced to develop to make people like you in spite of your inherent deficiencies. This is why when people say, “He has a wonderful personality,” it is usually shorthand for “He resembles a fat stoat.” If you are attractive and flawless, like Superman, what personality do you need? This is why Cyrano de Bergerac, with his giant hideous nose, has a rapier wit and is the life of the party, and Christian de Neuvillette, so handsome that people fall in love with him spontaneously across rooms, cannot complete a sentence to save his life. Adversity builds character. If you’re a diamond living among pumice, good luck being shaped into anything. No wonder Superman’s bland. When he gets bullied as a kid, his greatest struggle is not melting the bullies with his eyes. Forget first-world problems; he’s in a category by himself.

Of course, being in a category by yourself is its own kind of pain. He is the last of a species, alone, isolated, orphaned — but we don’t see that in the movie, except in brief flashbacks. If anything, he has too many living family members to be a high-functioning superhero. There’s nothing to latch onto in this Clark Kent, just a flying grin and a lot of explosions.

My understanding of myth structure, from Joseph Campbell, is that the essence of most hero stories is as follows: the hero Goes To The Father To Seek The Boon (getting help from a variety of archetypal figures and overcoming a variety of obstacles on the way), the hero obtains the boon, the hero returns and uses the boon to Save the People.

The trouble with Superman is that he already has the boon. He’s faster than a speeding bullet, capable of — yadda, yadda, yadda. As a consequence, the movie consists of numerous people delivering inspirational speeches to Superman about his unique capacity to save the world, and then he goes and does it. He doesn’t have to struggle to get where he is. But hey, there are a lot of explosions.

Still, is that enough?

What do we need from our myths?

Superman has always been a decently heavy-handed allegory: somebody’s only son sent to dedicate his life to save the human race? Gee. Who might this be?

Everyone else these days is so flawed. Iron Man has something resembling PTSD. Poor Captain America has come unstuck in time. Batman — don’t get me started on Batman. “Hey guys,” Superman says, sitting down at the bar next to them. “Rough day. I’m completely invulnerable to all earth substances, but also, I can fly!”

“Please leave,” Bruce Banner says, turning a little green.

The other superheroes filling our screens this summer have had a process of becoming. Superman doesn’t become. He just lands. He’s just super. He’s all the fun of playing Make Believe with a 6-year-old who keeps changing the rules on you so that he’s invulnerable and always wins.

Superman is the hero we don’t deserve but need right now. Here he comes now with that truck of his, just in time to help.

But that doesn’t mean I have to like him.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/compost/wp/2013/06/20/man-of-steel-have-we-outgrown-superman/

You can see more about her on Twitter at the following link:

https://twitter.com/petridishes

It is because of people like Alexandra Petri that we have Barack Obama as president, more scandals in Washington in just a couple of years than all of them combined during the last century, and the moral compass of America that is faltering under rudderless leadership by beta men who eat out of the hand of alpha women, who secretly are always on the lookout for the alpha male—who using Petri’s metaphor–is always the guy with the truck.  It not that she’s a bad person, or even a devious progressive.  In her article, she was honest, so I won’t rip her to shreds over what she wrote.  But she represents a great sickness that is destroying entire generations and is what people like me see as philosophically worse than catching the bubonic plague.

Of course people like Alexandra Petri have to live in their bodies and the minds that have molded them, so they have no other point of reference but to look at a film like Man of Steel and find reasons to make fun of it, because she can’t relate.  It isn’t her opinion that is the problem, but the fact that she cannot relate to a person who does not have vices, or rather that she believes that vices are what built relationships in the first place.  Her statements are as ridiculous as two businessmen who are nurturing a deal, who go out drinking to become intoxicated so both can see weaknesses in each other so that trust between the two can be shared with a common secret.  Any relationship built upon such foundations is doomed to fail, just as a society built on vices, and personal failures will collapse on itself.

I blame the creation of people like Alexandra Petri not on a disagreement over social philosophy, but of the origin of her thoughts to begin with, to the parents who obviously instructed her wrong, to the life situations that shaped her mind to believe that virtue is inferior to vice.  To each and every teacher in her public school that helped mold her mind to believe that having a “moral compass” is an out-dated ideal, and that it is appropriate to be nice to someone just so you can use them to help deliver something with their truck.

Alexandra Petri from The Washington Post represents the common demographic of 20 to 35 year olds in 2013 America—a lost generation that is hopelessly misplaced, and teetering on the precipice of disaster.  The only thing that keeps these rudderless beings afloat is the socialist mechanisms of the previous generation who gave them the New Deal and the Great Society, which are not sustainable financially.   Alexandra Petri is a child of those two progressive concepts and for her Superman is not about hope, but an unrealized ideal of what mankind is supposed to be.  Man is not supposed to be perfect, they are to be flawed, scandalous, and judged not by the merit of their work or quality of life, but by their vices.

Ironically lost to Alexandra is the metaphor that the type of qualities she found important and lacking in Kal-El, are the kind of values that General Zod proposed in the film.  An America led by people like Alexandra Petri are doomed to live out in real life what the fictional fate of Krypton turned out to be.  Yet she didn’t see that parallel.  She just saw her anxiety over the kind of perfection that was presented by Superman with a concept that was so foreign to her that the magic was lost.  For her, she needs people with fault to feel they have a personality, and she is far from alone.  If I had to put a number on the amount of people in society who think the same way she does, I’d say that it’s as high as 85%.  Many of them most likely left the Man of Steel movie feeling the same way, like they know they are supposed to like Superman, in the same way that people are supposed to like church—with a rebellious reverence to the idea of goodness that can be pushed back against with rejection, even though their bodies go through the motions of attending.

Alexandra Petri is allowed to think whatever she wants.  But she is forbidden to make decisions on my behalf, and that includes burdening me with goof-ball presidents like Barack Obama, unmanaged public education costs, government scandals, NSA spying, and more socialism in our current government with more entitlement programs.  Because she can vote, and does, and supports a democratic mode of government, then Alexandra’s bad ideas are in direct competition with my ideas, and those thoughts about reality are not compatible.  When she complains that she wants to see a flawed Superman, she speaks to a desire to create a flawed society—and she votes accordingly.  I on the other hand expect Superman to be flawless, and I live my life in a way to represent that idea.  When Alexandra Petri makes fun of the virtuous perfection that Superman represents, she is stating that my expectations human beings should strive to be all that they can be, and still push for more is too difficult, and unrealistic since such people lack personality, which is more important than value.

When it is wondered why the world is so screwed up, just read the article above and imagine millions of people like Alexandra Petri living their lives looking to hire, befriend, and interact socially not with the best that the human race has to offer, but the worst, because vices, imperfection, and perilous human weaknesses are endearing personality traits that people like Alexandra can relate to—which makes them good.    It should come as no surprise then when our society fails, because it is led in a mob-like democracy by people like Alexandra Petri who have been taught that all the things that are valuable are the things that make human beings the most disgusting.

Read my review of the same movie here to see how completely different kinds of thinking people can see the same thing and come away with opposite opinion.  CLICK HERE.

Rich Hoffman

“Justice Comes with the Crack of a Whip’!”

www.tailofthedragonbook.com

Looters of Lakota Are Back At It: Doing all they know……………asking for more money to spend on teacher contracts

The Looters of Lakota are at it again.  They are planning to toss another tax increase on the fall ballot, as expected.  Read the rest of the article from The Enquirer below.

LIBERTY TWP. — Voters in Greater Cincinnati’s second-largest school system will likely see a tax hike on the fall ballot.

The Lakota Board of Education voted unanimously Monday evening to place a combination operating levy and a permanent improvement tax on the Nov. 5 ballot.

Voters will decide on a 3.5-mill operating levy and a 2-mill permanent improvement levy combined into a single 5.5-mill school tax hike issue.

The board’s vote is the first of two required under Ohio law to place school tax issues on the ballot. Lakota officials have until Aug. 7 to file with Butler County election officials for the Nov. 5 ballot.

If approved, the levy would cost an additional $168 annually in new school taxes on a $100,000 home.

http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20130625/NEWS/306250099/Lakota-voters-could-see-tax-hike-fall-ballot?nclick_check=1

Needless to say, they were warned.  They can expect a very nasty fight on this one.   Much more to come………………………………………………

Rich Hoffman

“Justice Comes With The Crack of a Whip’!”

www.tailofthedragonbook.com