Fire Across the Galaxy: A wonderful first season of ‘Rebels’

Star Wars is about substance. The stories and my love for them trace back to my Joseph Campbell Foundation days where George Lucas was one of the original board of directors. I understand and appreciate what he has been trying to do, which I have talked about extensively in other articles. To that effect, the first season of Star Wars: Rebels is about to air as of this writing and my reason for this article is to remind you to tune into Disney XD at 9 PM Eastern time to watch it. Here is a preview of what you will see.

If you think about the themes of that episode, the Empire torturing Kanan for information about the increasing resistance from the Rebellion is a theme that harkens directly back to the end of the great Ayn Rand novel, Atlas Shrugged. In that work John Galt was tortured into compliance for his help in assisting the collective whole of civilization. It’s a mature theme intended for adults in a very grown-up story. Star Wars is obviously for kids. George Lucas is an open supporter of Barack Obama and even has his hands in Chicago politics in paving the way for his Star Wars museum on the shores of Lake Michigan. But, the content of his intentions with the expansion of Star Wars through first the San Francisco operation expansion into the Presidio, then the sale to Disney and the upcoming films is a strategy through myth that I think is excessively important.   Lucas has always been the best articulator of modern philosophy that our world currently knows. He will be remembered at the level of a Socrates, or Plato in bringing mythology, religion, and global cultural understanding to humanity in an excessively positive way. I doubt Lucas would see himself that way—but I do. History will prove me right.

Star Wars: Rebels is one of the best and most important programs on television currently. The season started off slow as it was obvious that the creative people behind the series were getting their feet wet with Star Wars without the hand of Lucas directly guiding them.   But as they completed a few episodes, it is clear that they are off to a roaring beginning to a very dramatic series. I love the show and my wife and I watch it every week. I don’t know that I’m all that excited about the new movies because I have a feeling my favorite character isn’t going to be around much longer, but I love the overall world of Star Wars because of the power it has of harnessing myth in a positive way. Star Wars: Rebels is special because it has captured that power in a way that is appealing to adults and children—it is a truly family oriented show about values.

The depth of ability that Star Wars has to reach into the nature of politics is truly amazing. The range of characters and how they interconnect allows stories to truly explore human nature from the motives of a galactic empire hell-bent on power, to a common smuggler straddling the cracks of the law to make a living the best way possible without squandering away their integrity. It’s a very dramatic portrait of competing ideas that goes well beyond the simplicity of a child’s tale.

For those who know Star Wars, which is most everyone, Darth Vader will be in tonight’s episode. If you are reading this after the date of March 2nd 2015, then this episode will be available at Star Vader is from the original trilogy and is actually the main character through the first six films and the entire Clone Wars animated series that went on for six seasons. Vader will be there to torture Kanan and it will be intriguing. The point of the torture is of course to coerce Kanan into revealing the location of his friends and the greater threat of a larger rebellion emerging from the senate. In a lot of ways the story lines look to be peeled away from the pages of our current history. But what’s important is that they often deal with difficult issues of extreme complexity with a joy that is openly supportive of living life as joyfully as possible.

In the episode leading up to Fire Across the Galaxy the Rebels even under great duress, managed to have a good time finding out information on where their friend and leader is being held—which is on Mustafar—which those who know Revenge of the Sith will know as the planet that made Darth Vader into who he is. Also, Bail Organa makes another appearance revealing that he has all along been the contact the Rebels have been using to get information. So there are some critical plot points that will be revealed in this episode that will serve as a nice cliffhanger to the new season that will begin in the upcoming fall of 2015.

Prior to the release of this episode my wife and I discussed my upcoming birthday and in having some fun with it this year. We spent much of the weekend playing our new favorite game Star Wars: Commander and making plans for the birthday at Dave and Busters having a Star Wars theme party centered on their new arcade game Battle Pod. Star Wars never gets tired to me; it is fun, exciting and full of interesting things to think about if the conflict at large is considered. But more than any of that, the technical achievements to tell those stories never gets old. For instance, it’s been thirty years since the film Return of the Jedi, but in Battle Pod game players gain the opportunity to fly into the second Death Star and blow it up flying the Millennium Falcon which is something I’ve always wanted to do. Battle Pod allows for that kind of experience, which is exactly how I’d want to spend my birthday with my family. I wouldn’t want to go to Dave and Busters really for anything else, but that they have a Battle Pod machine there.

Star Wars is fun, and special, so it is quite a treat to having something as unique as the episode Fire Across the Galaxy coming up on television tonight at 9 PM. If you can make time, be sure to watch it. It’s about a lot of things, but more than anything, it’s about substance. By far, it’s the best kids show on the air. But, because of the serious content underlying the story lines, and the philosophy emerging from them, it’s the best adult show also. It’s just a matter of time before the full impact will be felt. But, tonight’s episode for the uninitiated would be a great place to start. Enjoy!

Rich Hoffman



Why Obama Wants an Expanded Middle-Class: What the White House ‘Better Education Plan’ is really about

Has anybody posed the question to Barack Obama recently if he still considers himself a member of the “middle-class?” I personally find the term degrading, and insulting. Who wants to be the “middle” of anything? Not me. So I don’t identify with the “middle-class.” I don’t want to be considered in the middle-class, and I don’t want to accept that there is even a middle-class of just average Americans. I believe in American exceptionalism. Acknowledging a middle-class says that we accept a society of average people. It’s like saying we want our football teams to be average, we want our cars and electronics to be “normal” and that there is no reason to compete against anybody else because we don’t care about the final score. It’s like saying to a video game player who is obsessed with a game like Call of Duty that they should be happy with their “average” score instead of playing over and over to increase their rating.

Yet Obama talks about the “middle-class” like its something good that he wants to expand—and accept more of. He is actually promoting it, and is trying to expand government education to actually make more “average” people. Yet it would be safe to say that Obama considers him and his family as part of the “upper” ruling class. Such behavior was always typical among the communists who wanted to be affiliated with the enforcers as opposed to the commoner. The ruling class always gets better living accommodations, and social status and Obama clearly enjoys his elevated political class status as President of the United States. He will never be considered a part of the middle-class for the rest of his life—so why does he want to promote it to so many people? It really doesn’t make any sense.

The answer comes from deep inside the type of collectivists that Obama is. If they can eliminate competition, they will never be challenged by anybody seeking to actually surpass their social status with actual aptitude. A gigantic middle-class means for people like Obama no challenge to his social status as a member of the elite. So he naturally wants to protect his status with more “middle-class” type people, and the way he performs the task is to propose that the effort is actually good for people.

This is the real nature behind Obama’s new education plan which he actually sent to me through an email. You can read that email promotion from Obama’s White House below where the intent of the proposal is to lower standards for children so that they will be further dumbed down into a compliant “middle-class” of adults giving the federal government more centralized control over students. Of course Obama’s people never tell the whole truth, just as in the first sentence below which attempts to state that students are functioning at a higher level than ever before and that the government education system is actually working. The secret is that the standards have been lowered to make students appear better—without actually achieving anything. For the government, they are successful because they are in the business of making more compliant—average—people. But for the hopeful parent who wants their child to be the next Einstein—there is nothing about the following proposal that will help their child achieve greatness. Obama simply wants to clip their intellectual wings so that in the future—those children will be happy in the middle-class.


From: Barack Obama <> Date: Tuesday, February 24, 2015 Subject: Stand with me on education, Rich

To: Rich Hoffman

Just last week, Rich, we found out that our high school students are currently graduating at an all-time high, and last

year, our younger students posted the highest scores ever recorded in both math and reading. That’s great news! But ensuring our children get the most from their education in today’s ever-evolving economy

remains one of our most important responsibilities. It’s also a major part of my vision for a stronger middle class,

which I laid out in the State of the Union last month. That’s why I’m making the replacement of No Child Left Behind a priority. We need a better education plan — one that

cuts standardized testing to a bare minimum, invests in our preschools, and gives every kid in every corner of our

country a fair shot. I’m calling on Congress to pass a law that makes this vision of a brighter tomorrow for our sons and daughters a reality, Rich.


If you agree with me, then go ahead and let them know right now by adding your name next to mine. This plan is just common sense, and it deserves a vote in the House and Senate. But Republicans on Capitol Hill have their own ideas, and without support from people like you, it will be pretty darn tough to have a meaningful debate about any of this. I’m confident that we can work together and get this done, but I could use your help today to show Republicans that

Democrats are committed to making this level of progress permanent. So sign your name today, and tell Congress to pass an education bill that works for middle-class families: Thanks for standing with me today, Rich.

I’ll be in touch again soon.

Barack Obama

Now, here is a message from the Liberty Township Tea Party describing what is really going on with Obama’s new education plan. To those who think that the Tea Party is still a group of radicals, the evidence below should be obvious.

The White House and government position in general is to make more compliant “middle-class” people through federal education programs. As any intelligent reader will quickly notice by reading the following additional information deliberately removed from Obama’s letter on the same subject, the attempt is to erode more state sovereignty issues at the level of educationand to give even more central control over education matters to the federal government. Read it for yourself:




Congressional Leadership Is Bull-Rushing Through HR5, the 600 Page Reauthorization of No Child Left Behind (rebranded the “Student Success Act”)


The House votes on it this week.  Call your Representative and call the Speaker of the House and tell them to vote “no” on HR 5!


 202-224-3121. Below are just a few of the problems.

  1.  HR5 Denigrates Parental Rights and Seizes State Sovereignty
  • No program shall “operate within a State, unless the legislature of that State shall have . . . waived the State’s rights and authorities to act inconsistently with any requirement that might be imposed by the Secretary as a condition of receiving that assistance.” (Sec. 6561) (emphasis added).
  • Federal requirements will trump the rights “reserved to the States and individual Americans by the United States Constitution” to lead in the education of their child. (Sec. 6564)
  • Requires states to change laws and regulations to “conform” to HR5. (Sec. 1403)


  1.  HR5 Does Nothing to Relieve Children From No Child Left Behind’s (NCLB’s) Oppressive Testing Requirements.


  1.  Feds Will Effectively Direct State Education Policy through Enhanced Continuation of Heavy-Handed NCLB Policies


  • Requires states to demonstrate to the federal government that their standards, assessments, and state accountability systems meet the goal of “prepar[ing] all students to graduate high school for postsecondary education or the workforce.” (Sec. 1001)

  • Requires states to submit comprehensive state plans, which the Secretary can disapprove. (Sec. 1111)


  1. Increases Federal Data Collection To Control Curriculum

  • Empowers the Department of Education to request individual student and teacher data from State and Local Education Agencies.

LTTP Board, Mark, Leo, Carl, Tim, Susan, Christy, Mike, Katy and Denise

: Follow us on Facebook at:


Just like the situation with Net Neutrality, Obamacare, or any other scandal, the Obama White House cannot be trusted with even small truths—because they will lie and mislead about virtually anything, particularly in regard to education. Their end game is not the same as the rest of the world. It’s rather selfish and full of presumption—they want an expanded “middle-class” to protect the seeds of progressivism created by their radical left-leaning predecessors. They care about the end because it justifies the means—and in this case they want a dumb population full of average, middle-class slugs so they can easily dominate their thoughts and actions over the next century. That in essences is what Obama didn’t say in his email. But if he wanted to tell the truth—he would have. Instead, it took the Liberty Township Tea Party to say what the truth really was by a political class who considers itself well above the middle-class and is protecting itself from future insurrection through poor education and centralized federal control.

Rich Hoffman



uBeam’s Meredith Perry: Changing the world of energy distribution through innovation

Meredith Perry was an astrobiology major in college and did space research for NASA, but at the tender age of 25 years she has taken on the remarkable task of challenging the entire electrical delivery system framework with her very new and innovative company called, uBeam. And, she’s hiring. Her goal is epic and she is just two years away from making it happen. As of this writing she is poised to partner with a tech company with deep pockets like Apple or Google to remove power cords from all appliances starting with mobile devices. Here is the way she describes her company to potential applicants.

Our engineering team is comprised of world-class multidisciplinary inventors, where the word “impossible” is not part of our lexicon. We take pride in solving complex technological problems quickly, across many fields. At uBeam, we go from PowerPoint to prototype in a month or less.

We’re on a mission to untether the world, and we’re in search of new blood to join the team. We’re seeking hands on, dedicated people who are driven to push the boundaries of technology, people who are not looking for a typical 9-to-5 desk job, who are looking to make tectonic shifts in the world of electricity.

About her new technological invention she says according to her website and USA Today, “I started looking into types of technology that harnessed ambient energy, and I stumbled across piezoelectric [material], and I thought, if this can harness vibration, how do I induce ­vibration over the air? Then I realized that sound is vibration over the air. It was a natural “aha.”

“The dream is to replace all electrical outlets with uBeam transmitters,” says Perry. “You’ll wake up and just go through your day with your device and it will be charging in your house, in your car, at your bus stop, at your gym, in your hotel. We want to be absolutely everywhere. And wires won’t be anywhere.”

Here’s how it works. uBeam’s transmitter is a wafer-thin square the size of a salad plate that punches out ultrasonic frequencies much like a speaker creates sound. The receiver, currently in the form of a smart phone case, resonates at the same high frequency and turns that imperceptible movement into energy, charging the phone.

uBeam’s transmitter doesn’t go through walls, so a square tile is required for each room. Although uBeam is still a few years from being consumer-ready, Perry is convinced her “competitively priced” creation will find its way into our homes and any commercial space where devices are used.

“What I’ve seen over the years is people making tiny improvements in existing technology as opposed to saying, ‘Let’s throw this all out and do something new,'” she says. “I know the odds are so against me. But I wouldn’t start a company and bust my (rear) for years unless we were working on something orders of magnitude better than anything else out there.”

I love Meredith Perry’s attitude and the implications for her invention is quite extraordinary. It has a real chance of completely changing the way that power is transmitted from one place to another. It of course highlights the origin of power to begin with where the debate of Thorium as opposed to dirty energy is clearly a better option, but because of politics Thorium was suppressed as dirty energy was highlighted. There is a real danger of Perry’s invention being crushed by the status quo because it will completely change the way that homes and businesses are wired during construction. uBeam is certainly one of the biggest breakthroughs in science and technology that is currently on the frontier of discovery—and it came from a very young and ambitious young woman unafraid of the status quo—or her place in it. She is to me a remarkable young woman.

I would say that the best home for uBeam would be Apple, who has enough fluid cash to purchase all the big three auto companies in America right now. Only from such an innovative company would something as cutting edge like uBeam have a chance of cutting through the massive amount of lobby power that will try to sink them. It would give Apple a tremendous advantage over their competition such as Samsung for a few key years of future product rollouts. Obviously, uBeam would need to be available to all products, from the new Samsung televisions to their mobile devices—but Apple working with uBeam could corner that market to protect the wireless power market from the political machine that seeks to capture and regulate energy to throttle the cost and demand.

A company like uBeam is one step closer to my dream of every car, home, and personal power consumption device pulling free energy out of the air and being self-generated which is a real possibility. In our immediate lifetimes the debate will occur that the current power grid all across the world is old-fashioned and well out-dated. All power lines could be replaced with personal power devices—and that is a debate that will cause current power companies and the governments in their pocket a lot of heartache. Perry’s uBeam company is the gateway to such thinking and once people get a taste for it, they will accept it for everything from their washers and dryers, to their cars—and eventually their homes.

Ambient energy is important because it generates energy from everyday motions in life. uBeam is using ultrasonic waves to create energy, and it is entirely possible that the same could be done on a massive scale—just study an electrical storm during a spring rain where cold air strikes a front of warmer air provoking a violent storm. Such things have been tried before but were struck down politically because money could not be made on generating the power or the delivery method. When it comes down to something like what uBeam proposes, the technology is viable, clean, and much more efficient and reliable, but it will threaten the current infrastructure which will find it a threat to its very existence. So for the next step in wireless power transfer to occur it needs two things to happen—one of which it already has. It needs a fearless, smart, and charismatic young person who doesn’t understand the nature of defeat and is a rebel even by the standard of the Silicone Valley tech companies. Meredith Perry is the embodiment of such a person. The next thing it needs is a protective entity that has an immediate need for such a product as uBeam is producing. Apple or Google are among the only companies with the big guns to protect uBeam from the resistance that will surely come. If those two things can happen, the world just may change for the better.

Needless to say, I’m rooting for uBeam and its founder, Meredith Perry. She reminds me of my daughters who are the same age. There is a lot of hope in her, and I would hate to see that ambition crushed by a world protecting itself from its own insecurities. For that reason alone I’m ready to rip out all my outlets and convert over to uBeam technology. It’s just a matter of time.

Rich Hoffman



A Philosophy for the 22nd Century: iPhone 6 and Glenn Beck’s American Dream Labs

My wife and I have been getting acclimated to the new iPhone 6 for a few days now and the thoughts I’ve had while going through all the subtle new technology and the emerging business model so obvious, have only convinced me that the 21st century will be full of such extraordinary breakthroughs that by the time mankind gets to the 22nd century the world will be much different. As I write this Apple is not only in the market for making fabulous personal devices like iPhones and personal computing systems—but are developing a new car with their nearly 1 trillion dollars in market value. It costs roughly a billion dollars to perform the R&D for a new car, and Apple is at the front of that cutting edge by 2020 because they have the cash to do the job. The terrorist group ISIS is using some of that technology to broadcast to the world their level of Islamic theocracy in a negative way, and the American government is trying to create Net Neutrality through the FCC to get control of the run-away-technology so to slow it down and put it back in federal control. But more than that, my T-Mobile plan informed me that they offer free data streaming for music—such as iHeart Radio. That means twenty-four hours a day seven days a week no matter where I am, I can listen to The Blaze without any interruption in service. I don’t have to worry about consuming too much data from one place to another where free Wi Fi isn’t available which for my lifestyle of motorcycles and other unconventional travel means I can have 100% access to the new radio station for the first time since its creation without any worry. No wonder the FCC wants so much control.

The iPhone 6 is about the size of my iPod but it does so much more as the technology has shrunk to fit into such a small device. Even now if I am rappelling in the middle of Red River Gorge or backpacking to the top of Mt LeConte I can still listen to The Blaze Radio Network the entire time—which for me is relaxing. I don’t always want to hear the birds and the babbling brooks of nature. I like to hear the ideas of mankind and find out what the disputes are against modern philosophy, and The Blaze gives me that kind of information. More than anyone else in broadcasting on such a large-scale with a large and well-respected retinue of current politicians offering their insights Glenn Beck’s The Blaze is positioned in much the same way as Apple is to bring broadcasting, news, and entertainment to the next century while traditional companies shrink away and go extinct because they couldn’t keep up with the technology. Beck through his American Dream Labs is about to unleash several feature films and is unveiling several new innovations on April 4th of this year—just a few days before my birthday—which I am very excited about. There is a lot going on in the world that is truly scary, but there is a lot to be excited about as well. Glenn Beck’s innovations are among them and I will use my new iPhone equipped with a wonderful T-Mobile deal to stay plugged in along the way.

A few friends of mine from a secret Atlas Shrugged type of real life Galt’s Gulch just yesterday were contemplating the implication of the new iPhone also coming in April. I am certain that I will be getting one at some point in time, but just the sheer opportunity that such a device holds in such a small package is a stunning display of technological ability. If you mathematically apply the types of innovations being unleashed just in the last couple of years to the youthful generation that is taking them for granted in their replication of advancement every 18 months or so—that same generation will expect that type of progress in everything from televisions to automobiles. The self-driving cars from Minority Report will happen regardless of political road blocks because these young people will demand it. They want to play Xbox and text their friends while driving and Apple along with Google looks to be among the first companies poised to provide such a thing. I joked to our T-Mobile rep as he was displaying all the unique features of the iPhone 6 that in two years the phone would be outdated and he laughed, because he knew it was true. Things are moving that fast—yet government isn’t moving with it—because they are functioning from the failed philosophies of the past.

During the week my wife managed to convince me to go to Costco with her, which I seldom ever like doing—not because I dislike shopping or Costco—but because time is often short. I have a very busy and packed life—so grabbing a hot dog at Costco and shopping for necessities is last on the list of things to do. But she managed to convince me, and upon arriving I had to marvel at the prices on their 80” flat screen televisions and their new curved screens which were reasonably priced at under $5000. The prices are coming down to the point where every room in a home could have one of those large televisions without any trouble at all. The technology in them is simply incredible. The next challenge is going to fall on production companies to provide content that people actually want because the technology is there. Again, that’s where I think Glenn Beck will have an advantage over even the most deep pocketed traditional studio. The old way of producing video is long gone. The iPhone 6 has a mini camera in it far superior to what even a $10,000 camera cost in the 1990s so everyone with an iPhone is holding in their hands a television studio if they desire to utilize it. Of course that is another reason the FCC wants to create a Department of the Internet—because that notion scares them intensely.

My two-year old grandson is already speaking in complete sentences. Much of that I would attribute to the various learning devices he has available to him such as the television program on Nickelodeon called Blaze and the Monster Machines—which is a cartoon designed to teach kids about language, science, and physics. It is not as clunky as Sesame Street was—nor as agenda driven. It’s just about learning and having fun while doing it. Consider on top of that he has a Leap Frog tablet and other similar devices that allow his imagination to just soak up all this vast information so quickly the education model is obvious. Everything I have said negative about public education just became much, much, much more relevant. I am convinced that kids could learn everything they would typically learn by age 22 in college by age 10 because of the education options available now, that simply weren’t there 5 years ago, let alone 10.

So given all this rapid acceleration in technology, there is nothing in the adult world that is preparing for this onslaught in thought. Fox News is talking every night about the 2016 election where Republicans will likely put up another boring candidate based on the old machine politics of tradition and Democrats will put up Hillary Clinton, another old hippie progressive out of touch and expecting feminist nut cases to carry her into the White House. Neither political party is poised to deal with the typical iPhone user. Just as the car companies are lecturing Apple about how hard it is to get into the car market. But Apple will expect to do in two years what it takes General Motors a decade to perform, and they have the available R&D cash to pull it off. Just this past week Amazon.Com was upset that the FAA created regulations against their proposed drone delivery system, and they also have the cash to challenge the government’s attempt to preserve the old-fashioned way of delivery by UPS, FedEx, and the United States Postal Service. From the government its business as usual reacting to lobby money poured into their offices—but the marketplace represented by Amazon wants their products delivered within hours not days—and the collision will impact the government more than it will the marketplace because the next generation will expect fast delivery-because technology has always provided them with quick and immediate gratification on anything they have wanted.   They will expect the same out of their politics. Politicians standing in the way of that desire will be chewed up and spit out. Trust me. It’s coming fast and furious.

That is why it’s important to now focus on a philosophy for the 22nd century because it will take that long for the dust to settle. It has taken a 100 years to arrive at this current juncture, and it will take that long for the intellect of mankind to catch up to the philosophy needed by their recent inventions. Politicians like the Hillary Clinton types who expect to show up and walk on stage uttering a few lines of dialogue to pretend they are in the most powerful position in the world aren’t going to be able to deal with the advantages given to the typical person through all these new inventions. The explosion of invention coming available requires a new philosophy to deal with it all, and one of the first things that will have to go is the old adherence to the political machines of the past. The tools given to mankind currently allow for such a philosophy to develop. The old systems will be swept away in the current—car companies will go out of business as new ones emerge, power generation will change dramatically as more and more people learn of the options kept from them through unnecessary regulation, and stonewalling politicians will be crushed by a coming generation deeply impatient and empowered with knowledge at their fingertips. There’s no way to stop it now. What is needed to help the transition is a new way of thinking—a philosophy for the 22nd century so that when the dust clears, the mind of mankind will be aligned with the products of its innovation.

Rich Hoffman



Understanding Leadership: The difference between success and failure

Compared to most everyone else I have some bizarre ideals about leadership that certainly don’t travel well with the currents of civilization. Yet I am so certain of them that I no longer entertain opinions to the contrary because I recognize it as a special gift that is of great benefit not only to myself, but everyone I happen to know. Of course this leads to many matters of conflict which part of me strategically avoids while at the same time seeking it out. Leadership is one of the least understood attributes to modern society even though it should be easily plotted through history. Our best modern attempts is to believe that somehow West Point makes leaders through the military and that somehow the armed services through the concept of sacrifice makes great people. The other belief is that somehow in the classrooms of our colleges a teacher touches the life of a student and magic happens and a leader is born. So the mystical belief is that if society wants leaders, they need more procedures and rules to create an environment for a leader to evolve into the role of a savior willing to sacrifice themselves for a common good—so most schools of thought travel down that path. Yet, that grasp is likely the most ardent enemy of leadership that there is, and ends up crushing such opportunities for such people to emerge leaving in the wake chaos and process driven bureaucracy where everything just grinds to a halt with inaction.

Many times while dealing with a political system from local government to a business of some kind, what is found there is a process driven commitment to a rigid line of thought mystically protecting them from the scandal of inefficiency. The belief is actually as stupid as a group of head hunters from a South Pacific island refusing to allow their picture to be taken because they believe that their soul will be captured in the process. The belief in processes and procedures comes directly from a lack of leadership—it doesn’t act as a substitute. Where it gets really confusing is that some sense of order is needed for mankind to act with one another but to have real leadership it often requires visionaries to break those rules so that leadership can occur.

Readers here know of my thoughts on the work of Robert Pirsig who developed the Metaphysics of Quality and specifically captured the essence of leadership in his contemplations on philosophy. I often refer to his train motif to explain leadership—who is always the character at the front of a long train spotting things at the cutting edge of travel along the tracks. Process driven analysis is usually at the back of the train—away from the leader—as far as possible in most organizations. They are never in a position to make decisions at the cutting edge because by the time the problem gets to their part of the train at the back, decisions are long passed the point of no return. The only way that decisions can be made at the back of a train is for the train to go very slow or to stop all together—so that communication from the front can get to the back of the train in time for decision makers to consider the information and then project it back up to where the engineer is, and the train can turn, stop, or go faster depending on what is needed. It takes courage to be at the front of the train, and when decisions are made there, they can be immediately applied allowing for more swiftness in movement. Most modern organizations, the American military included, function from the back of a train of thought.

The back of the train is safe. It covers up the great mystery as to why some people are naturally better than others at the task of leadership. In fact, it avoids the entire question when process driven analysis can just keep everyone busy giving the illusion of productivity. But frustration often emerges that the train just doesn’t move fast enough—and that is because there isn’t anybody competent at the front of the train because everyone is stuck in the back. Those most able to be great leaders get bored and just step off in frustration leaving an organization even more befuddled than they were before. This is essentially why Apple fired Steve Jobs the first time—before hiring him again to save their company. Steve Jobs was always at the front of the train—and was happy no place else. Most great companies with the most innovation coming out of them have a leader at the front of the train who is most comfortable being there. There are of course people in the back who collect data to analyze, but the train is not driven from there. It is given to the leader to create a history to learn from so that decisions can most fluidly be made at the very front of the train as the future progresses.

I would never make it in todays military. Even while watching American Sniper I kept thinking how stifling the military is on a human mind, and that is for a good reason. When you become a soldier, you become part of a system and surrender your individuality to process driven goals. I could never do that, and I never have been able to. Yet great individuals in the military like Chris Kyle, Chuck Yeager, General Claire Lee Chennault, and General Patton all had a strong streak of individuality in them that sometimes defied orders and acted on their own merit from the front of whatever train they were on. All those characters found life at the back of the train boring and stifling desiring instead to be at the cutting edge of action. For those characters, the orders were less process driven because they were literally on the front lines of combat. However, especially in Chennault’s case when General Stillwell became U.S. Army commander in China during World War II Chennault was much less effective as a leader because the jealous Stillwell insisted on running the war from the back of the train, instead of the front where Chennault resided. This caused constant feuding between the two generals and cost the lives of many soldiers as the end result. Patton was much the same kind of man, and if reading the book Killing Patton is studied, it was likely that someone killed the general because nobody wanted to deal with him in peace time.   Likely it was Stalin who ordered the assassination, and at the time they were supposedly allies with the United States-but Stalin just didn’t want to deal with Patton in a future war—so they killed him—likely. And many in the U.S.—including the White House—secretly breathed a sigh of relief. But why? Because, Patton insisted not only at being at the front of the train, he wanted to be on the sweep at the front—the closest to the tracks as he could get. He was a real, natural-born leader and he often defied orders to do what he thought was best. If not for Patton, it is likely that the Germans would have beat America to the bomb—and the Allies would have lost.

So given all this historical data—why are organizations still insistent on back of the train analysis designed to stifle leadership? Well, it is the same vile human emotion that desires communism over capitalism—the jealous refusal to accept that some people have leadership, and some people don’t. Those that don’t desire process driven rules and regulations to protect them from their own inadequacies—and that pretty much sums it up. They hover like ghosts behind a leader in the back of the train and look for ways to take the credit for decisions made at the front once they think the situation is safe for them to do so. In Patton’s case they of course waited for a few days after the war ended to kill Patton. Authorities did something similar in China with Chennault sending him quickly to pasture once the conflict ended trying quickly to silence the petulant general. Instead Chennault wrote a great book The Way of the Fighter which revealed all his contentious exchanges between FDR, General Stillwell, and Truman up until the publication of the book in 1949. Chennault was irate with frustration saying that the conflict in China was not against the Japanese, but with the encroaching communists from the North. The authorities at the back of the train laughed it off and pulled out the United States surrendering all the hard-fought gains to the communists to become our future enemy. If Truman had listened to Chennault instead of Stillwell, there wouldn’t have been a Korean War, and there wouldn’t have been a Vietnam. And China would to this day be a capitalist country and friend to the United States instead of the holder of its debts and leveraging itself for a fiscal take-over of the American economy. And for a modern context, Chris Kyle would have likely had many less killings if he had always done what he was told. It’s part of the American way to think on ones feet and to make judgment calls from the front of the train. But first someone has to have the courage to reside there—and that is what’s short in most organizations. If they can find someone who wants to be at the front of the train, they are lucky. Those types of leaders are rare, but they are the key to making an endeavor successful or a failure. In classrooms look at the kids in the back of the class as opposed to those who voluntarily sit in the front—and you will see the difference between potential leaders and slugs who want to hide in the masses.

The failure to recognize such people is the problem, and they are often concealed behind jealousy, inflated egos, and overly educated process driven knuckle-draggers. Even the best leaders were hated even when they were loved. People love the results, but they hate that they can’t emulate a leader through processes, graphs, and structural definitions. There isn’t a class at West Point that can properly teach leadership and there isn’t a single course anywhere that can teach the proper behavior. It comes to some people naturally who love to stand in the fire at the front of the train. Leadership takes a natural courage that is vacant from most people, and if a society wants more leaders—it has to create an environment that produces more of them. But more often than when potential leaders are discovered within government schools they are beat into submission before they get out of the fifth grade and destroyed like baby seals surrounded by sharks that just want a meal. Most leaders are destroyed before they ever make it to adulthood. Today’s real leaders are taught early and often to stand at the back of the train and to shut up. So, not knowing any better, they do—and live desperate lives unfulfilled quietly screaming in silence to words that can’t be articulated.

For more on this topic read my article “Making Omelets: The essence of leadership” which features several videos of Gordon Ramsay the popular chef and television personality who is famous for fixing failed restaurants. There are millions upon millions of people who can cook, and there are hundreds of others who have made successful television careers out of cooking. But Ramsay is different. It’s because he makes decisions at the front of the train instead of the back—and that skill is one of the most unusual in the world—the culinary world is much, much better off.   Whether its food, war, or just aspects of manufacturing, real leaders are hard to come by, but when they are found, they are more precious than a treasure trove of wealth discovered.   They have the ability to see and guide others through dangers not yet seen and can create what’s needed before anybody even understands why. But before one can be a leader they must have courage—because the front of the train is scary. And that is why organizations without good leadership languish in bureaucracy. Because they have to go slow enough for the cowards in the back to make a decision—and that is a promise of inevitable failure—because the competition out there will likely happen across a leader—and they won’t be moving slowly—they’ll travel fast because they have a leader at the front of the train. It’s not the size of an organization that makes it successful; it’s about the quality of their leadership. And to understand that, quality has to be understood—which is the topic of a whole new article.

Rich Hoffman



Ayn Rand’s 1961 Capitalist and Communist Warning: Why Apple is successful and everyone else copies

The Ayn Rand Institute recently posted the below video from 1961 by Ayn Rand herself about capitalism and communism. At the time there was a lot of debate about which was better for society. The political class and intelligentsia decided they liked communism whereas the American people still in love with their John Wayne westerns and old-fashioned ideas of westward expansion loved their capitalism. Democrats and labor unions in a partnership with each other decided that they would avoid the name of communism in much the same way that Fidel Castro did during the period that he was trying to convince Cuba to turn toward Marxism by denying that his proposed dictatorship was a party of communists. Of course we know by history that it was a complete lie, just as history will show that in America public schools, colleges, and the federal government itself has fully embraced communism all along—and sought to teach children those “communal” concepts from before even kindergarten. Visit any daycare facility and you will see communism being taught to 3 and 4 year olds in great abundance. In 1961 Ayn Rand was despondent as to how the great America could even conceive of making the mistakes she had just escaped from in her mother Russia. So she made the below recording to the Presidents Club of the American Management Association to contemplate why.

Speaking of management associations and the innovations available to America it is an aspect to my life that I know first hand. I came to know Ayn Rand and the ARI work because I share with them very similar ideals about how business should be conducted and why capitalism is such a vastly superior mechanism in any global marketplace. I never read Ayn Rand until just a few years ago, yet I lived my life nearly in parallel with her character Howard Roark from the great novel The Fountainhead. When I finally did read it I wondered how I had traveled through life for over 40 years without running across it—and once I did I understood completely the intentions of the novel.

For me the most powerful part of the book was when Roark refused to be a member of the architectural board for the World’s Fair exhibit because of his strict personal revulsion toward collectivism. I too have been invited and had to decline many such associations and it has cost me likely millions in so doing. For thirty years I have been given many, many, many opportunities to do just as what was offered to Roark in The Fountainhead and I declined for the same reasons so to keep my own integrity intact. I had never heard of anybody doing the things I had been doing and taking the social positions I had until I read The Fountainhead, which was really the first time I had a measure that I was actually right in my instincts—and it was good to hear Ayn Rand from beyond the grave tell me she understood.

I had for years been struggling with the communism so present in American business—everything from Six Sigma concepts to Jack Welch management methods. I was sent to many classes over a great deal of time and on day one I lost interest because essentially what they were teaching was classic communism—not capitalism. It was no wonder that companies struggled with profits and innovation and I had no desire to learn such a stupid thing. I often refer to my years at Cincinnati Milacron as one of those pinnacle moments of understanding. I was sent to a Lean Manufacturing seminar as a hand-picked bright spot in their future only to discover that the company was dying on the first day of class. I lost interest in that company once I realized that they were has-beens and would soon go out of business more or less—which of course they did. My views at the time I couldn’t articulate against the current because everyone essentially thought I was nuts—since I was the lone voice against “consensus” and other focus group derivatives. I knew from experience that I wanted to maintain my individuality because it was within that element that true innovation in thought was brought forth.

I still run into the same opposition—actually every day. But I now have a track record to beat over people’s heads which quiets them. When I was in my 20s and 30s everyone just thought I’d grow out of such thoughts of independence—but instead I just got worse over time the more I saw that my methods worked as opposed to other studies. During the 90s I likely read every management book there was in Barnes and Nobel over a ten-year period, and most of them were so wrong, that they might as well be the equivalent to the latest “quick diet” fad because the methods were built around the same mysticism. Most corporations, and most businesses function like a communist dictatorship which quickly saps the strength of an organization of its most valuable resource—the individuals who actually work for the institution. It isn’t long that a company dies on the vine once a few decades of communist dictatorship ruins them for life. Cincinnati Milacron died in this fashion—as did General Motors. The later was only saved by government bail-outs.

Banking institutions, corporations, political structures—everywhere that there is a hierarchy of a few nameplate administrators who have power over others just by title, communism is found to be at the core philosophy of the leaders within the institution. Many of those tuning in to listen to Ayn Ran only cared about what she had to say about profit—not about the means of obtaining it. Most American businesses in 1961 were already infiltrated with communist ideals through their education institutions. They were already thinking in the wrong manner and were mapping out their own personal destructions even as the leaders built their careers and retirement pensions. Those same individuals might have been paid good money for their leadership—but what they often left in their wake was a declining business, not a flourishing one. I simply refused to play along—and over time it has benefited me and many others because when fresh ideals are needed, they are available because I have not destroyed the means of obtaining them.

As Ayn Rand said, it wasn’t communism that proved to be superior to capitalism. It was that in America capitalism committed suicide because businessmen and women discovered that to be good at capitalism they actually had to be good people to the very core of their being and could not have their egos uselessly massaged by corporate structure. The ability to dictate the lives of others because they held power over their employees’ financial purse strings proved too tempting and they fell in love with the power of communism—the ability to be the center of control of all things distributed to others according to their need. For men, the best way to test this morality is in placing a beautiful young secretary outside of their offices. If they contemplate using their power and influence to bed her—they are not moral enough men for capitalism. For women, if they use their power and position to decorate themselves with excessive sign stimuli and tales of oversea travel not out of necessity—but grandeur for the sake of it—as if to exemplify that they hold a higher title than others and therefore hold the fate of so many in their hands—then they are not moral enough for capitalism and will become seduced by the profiteer communism eventually. Once they do, you can hear the term, “team” uttered from their mouths more and more often as they are always on the search for “communal” exercises intended to achieve consensus. A typical episode of The Office is a good place to start to see this withering, pathetic diatribe of failure manifested through comic relief.

As I write this article my wife and I just bought iPhone 6 mobile devices—which to me is one of the most innovative items on planet earth presently. The company itself is nearly at a $1 trillion market cap valuation, and they’ve done it their way. They are very much as a company the way Howard Roarke conducted his business—vastly independent of other companies. They make the market come to them instead of forming themselves to the market. Many analysts college trained to think like nice little communists wonder why the market evaluation of Apple isn’t already over $1.26 trillion—after all it could be. But Apple does things their way for their own reasons and they are driving the market according to their creative input as a company driven by individuals. Steve Jobs after all was a very informal businessman who didn’t have a college degree, and was actually fired from the company he created. But in the end it was Jobs who made Apple what it is and paved the way for creative minds through an excessive commitment to a capitalism loving culture that made Apple such a successful company. Jobs was one of the first to introduce casual wear to the business place just to break down the top down communist culture of rigid dress codes and oppressive company reminders that the employees served the institution—not the other way around. What Jobs did at Apple he was able to perform because he wasn’t taught in college to hate it capitalism—but to use it to be a creative human being. He was essentially a modern real-life Howard Roarke.

Apple isn’t the only company out there who understands that communism has no place in American business. There are others, but they are definitely on the fringe. I am one of those proud fringe people and I know of several others because like-minded people tend to know each other. But what Ayn Rand said in her lecture to the Presidents Club of the American Management Association was completely accurate. It’s not that communism is superior, or had even won. Communism has seeped into our culture as a profiteer while those who were supposed to protect capitalism were too busy thinking about how powerful they are over their employees, or in banging their secretaries. Instead of conducting themselves in a moral way, they have instead turned toward Apple and tried to copy everything about the company hoping that they will strike gold in the same manner. But they can dress in jeans and follow other similar attributes of Apple, but if they don’t develop a creative—capitalist environment for their employees to prosper in—they will fail leaving the default mode of operation to the mindless communists who will sweep in to save the day with bail-outs, focus groups and the constant reminder that institutions are all about “consensus” building. But they were, and will always be wrong. Successful companies are built by individuals for the sake of creative enterprise and it is there that capitalism shines best and brightest—and for the most people’s benefit. It is what’s missing from our present culture and why everything taught counter to that basic ideal is a waste of time.  American business knows how to get there, but they are not willing to act morally to achieve it—which is why Ayn Rand in 1961 was so baffled by the American approach to the long-standing debate. There just weren’t enough defenders of capitalism out there because too many executives were staring at the boobies of their secretaries—instead of on the next great idea and how to free the minds of mankind to unleash the power of capitalism and the ideals that spring forth from such a culture.

Rich Hoffman



Obamacare is the Cause of Longshore Worker Stoppage: An American embarassment

 I spoke months ago about the embarrassment of the Longshore workers on the West Coast with their deliberate slowdown of work to force contract talks with their employer.  Because of the amount of cargo moving to and from their ports, their work slow down is embarrassing to American productivity.  CLICK HERE TO REVIEW.  I am embarrassed that they are Americans representing to the world the merit and speed of the American workforce.   Because of their actions, they should all be let go and replaced with newer—less expensive workers who will show the world the enterprising speed of Americans.  Instead they have been drag-assing for months upset that they have not received a new union contract forcing valuable product to sit idle until the workers get to it.  This entire workload backup has forced numerous weeks of consecutive weekend overtime which has cost millions of dollars in lost profitability.  That was always their union strategy.   Not only did they waste time during the week forcing trucks and ships to wait on their weak effort at productivity—but they have done the same under premium pay on the weekends compounding the insult.

Then to make matters worse to any investigator with an inquisitive eye toward reality, one comes to realize how much these union workers make as a salary—which proves how out of touch they really are.  When the union leaders were upset that their employers just shut down the weekends because they are now so dreadfully behind schedule it is no longer worth the premium money to spend to move units—the audacity of the Longshore workers unions become very clear.  What follows are a collection of articles that explains more deeply the situation:

Longshore workers, according to a contract that expired in July, can earn $25.71 to $35.68 — or annual salaries of $53,476 to $74,214— depending on seniority. Workers get more money for special skills and experience, plus overtime.

According to the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents the employers, the average salary is $147,000, which combines the earnings for registered longshoremen, clerks, walking bosses and foremen who have worked 2,000 or more hours.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Companies that handle billions of dollars of cargo at West Coast seaports said Friday they will hire far fewer workers this weekend, the latest escalation in a contract dispute with dockworkers that threatens to shut down a vital link in U.S.-Asia trade.

The association representing port terminal operators announced its members would not hire crane drivers to move containers on and off massive ocean-going ships. Instead, employers could order smaller crews to clear already-unloaded containers from congested dockside yards.

The slow-roll implementation of Obamacare threatens to close U.S. commercial ports on the West Coast. The 29 ports, which handle 70 percent of maritime imports from Asia, were closed over the weekend after months of contentious contract negotiations. The ports reopened Monday, but 20,000 longshoremen are still threatening to strike over a new Obamacare tax.

Obamacare imposes a 40 percent tax on health benefits deemed too generous by the government. Health benefits exceeding $10,200 a year in value for individuals or $27,500 for families are defined as “Cadillac” plans and are subject to the tax. Health benefits for longshoremen exceed $40,000 per employee, meaning the union would be served an enormous tax bill when the penalty is imposed in 2018.

Well, how about that, Obamacare penalizes health care plans that are too luxurious so to ensure that everyone is the same no matter their personal effort or worth—and the Longshore workers don’t like it.  The situation is so serious that it should require the involvement of the President of the United States to step in and keep American productivity flowing.  But he hasn’t because Obama is aligned with such radicals as they think the same way.  Yet even in this case even the union workers are to the political right of Obama—because it is Obamacare that is the largest sticking point in obtaining a new contact.  The Longshore workers already make too much money to be worth the effort—now with Obamacare pressing down on the port employers they simply have reached their breaking point and are giving up.

For Obama, this is one of the biggest issues of his presidency.  When President Bush was faced with the same type of work stoppage in 2002 after only a ten-day lockout by the same union he invoked the Taft-Hartley Act as reported by the World Socialist Web Site:

On Tuesday a federal judge in San Francisco granted the Bush administration’s request for a temporary injunction lifting a ten-day lockout and sending West Coast longshoremen back to work. The court order was a prelude to the declaration of an 80-day “cooling off” period under the provisions of the anti-union Taft-Hartley law.

The lockout had shut down 29 West Coast ports. The judge issued his order barely three hours after attorneys from the Justice Department presented a fact-finding report drawn up by a special Board of Inquiry. George W. Bush had announced the formation of the panel the day before, setting into motion the legal process leading to the declaration of a national emergency and the implementation of the Taft-Hartley Act

The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), which represents the West Coast shipping companies, reopened the ports on Wednesday for the 6 p.m. shift.

Of course the socialists thought that Bush had overstepped his boundaries and forced the Longshore workers back to work because they represent the basic philosophy of all labor unions—that jobs exist for employees and that employers are meant to be servants to the whims of the “middleclass.”  And now that socialist types have their president in the White House there is no relief for employers coming—instead there are only more socialist driven costs induced by Obamacare.  So for employers—it’s a no win situation.  Product is stacking up on shipping docks and not making it to their destination on time—and America looks inefficient because of it—which makes socialists happy.

The Longshore workers are disgraceful.  They have a history of this radical behavior and have driven up their wages to a level that is simply not sustainable.  And now because of Obamacare, they have overstayed their welcome and are due for an innovation to replace their sudden worthlessness.  The rest of America should not have to wait for those idiots to do their jobs.  Their selfishness is epic—but worse than that—it is Obamacare that has broken the back of logic.  Yet nobody is talking about that on the nightly news.  That is because the dispute is between various factions of liberals—the Longshore workers and Obama himself.  The companies caught in the middle simply want to operate their businesses.  And with the Obamacare imposition being so high—they decided they can’t.  So employers shut down their weekend work and are ready to move on.  For them—it was the correct decision.  These port employers aren’t alone.  Here is a list of other major companies who have decided that Obamacare is just too expensive.   And this is just the beginning.

Rich Hoffman

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