It Will Always Be Mt. McKinley: The hidden reason behind a mountain name change

Consider that I am from Ohio and that President Mckinley was from that state, I will always think of Mt. McKinley in Alaska as the name it was before Obama and his progressive activists sought to change it to Denali. I don’t really care that since 1975 radical tree hugging hippies and pot smoking losers wanted to rename the highest mountain peak in North America after some “Great One” known by “native” language. If Obama wants to get technical, the Indians of the pre-Columbian era were just as guilty of migration as the European settlers—as the original story of the “Native American” are still being pieced together. Likely it was primarily the Chinese who were the real “Native Americans.” That story does not match the premise of the modern progressive who wants to use Indians as a springboard against American colonialism—and indirectly—capitalism. Here’s how the story was reported by USA Today:

WASHINGTON — President Obama’s three-day trip to Alaska this week will literally change the map of the nation’s 49th state.

Mount McKinley — the 20,237-foot mountain and the tallest in North America — has been renamed Denali, as it was originally known by Alaska Natives before it was renamed to honor President William McKinley.

The mountain, which sits in the 6 million-acre Denali national park, has been known as Denali in Alaska since 1975. Under an order signed by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, the Denali name will also take effect for all federal usage and, therefore, on all official maps.

The order was signed Friday, but the White House asked that it be announced Monday as part of Obama’s trip to Alaska to highlight the effects of climate change in the Arctic. The White House said the name change “recognizes the sacred status of Denali to generations of Alaska Natives.”

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2015/08/30/obama-rename-nations-tallest-mountain/71426656/

Denali (/dɨˈnɑːli/), officially called Mount McKinley from 1917 until it was formally renamed in 2015, is the highest mountain peak in North America, with a summit elevation of 20,237 feet (6,168 m) above sea level. At some 18,000 feet (5,500 m), the base-to-peak rise is considered the largest of any mountain situated entirely above sea level.[6] Measured by topographic prominence, it is the third most prominent peak after Mount Everest and Aconcagua. Located in the Alaska Range in the interior of the U.S. state of Alaska, Denali is the centerpiece of Denali National Park and Preserve.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_McKinley

I have been to the top of peaks a third of that. I understand the cold and loss of oxygen at those altitudes, but as a statement of natural achievement, I’m not that impressed. I could climb to the top of McKinley right now, in my current health without any conditioning, so I’m not impressed with it. Sure it’s pretty to look at, but I wouldn’t be crying to reach the summit like some climbers do. McKinley has been conquered many times, and it’s no longer a big deal. And from space, it doesn’t look like much. However, to a bunch of primitives wearing animal skins in the hard winter months, climbing to the top of Mount McKinley was an ominous task, not really feasible to them. So from their perspective, it was a “great one.” But to a culture that routinely sends satellites into earth orbit and has settlers on the International Space Station all days of the year looking down from space—and has airplanes that travel at twice that altitude on routine flights across the country, McKinley is no longer a “Great One.”

The reason for the name change now is to incite among the American people a love for nature and a reversion back from the gains made through capitalism back to the primitive focus of indigenous people who function best from tribes always in need of a leader. That is why progressives are trying so hard to make a religion out of the “green movement” and why they think of the Indian as something of our national sacred history.

In 1896, a gold prospector named the mountain McKinley as political support for then-presidential candidate William McKinley, who became president the following year. The United States formally recognized the name Mount McKinley after President Wilson signed the Mount McKinley National Park Act of February 26, 1917.[22] The Alaska Board of Geographic Names changed the name of the mountain to Denali, which is how it is referred to locally. However, a 1975 request by the Alaska state legislature to the United States Board on Geographic Names to do the same was blocked by Ohio congressman Ralph Regula, whose district included McKinley’s hometown of Canton.[23]

To progressives like Obama, money and the creation of it is a bad thing. Money represents value and progressives hate value, or any identification of it. So of course Obama and his greenie weenies are against gold prospecting and everything that the Old West stood for regarding westward expansion. Alaska and the settling of it by the United States to him are all about oil and gold at the exploitation of Eskimos. But without the development of capitalism, Alaska today would be nearly as useless of a terrain as Siberia is right across the Bering Straight. Without gold prospecting or oil drilling Alaska would just be more earthly land not being applied to any productive task. To conservationists who are against human invention and development, that is a grand crusade worthy of sacrificing many to the gods of Mother Earth. But to capitalists who use free enterprise to improve the conditions of human existence, the gold from Alaska, and the wealth discovered through westward expansion set up the United States as an economic powerhouse throughout the world during the Twentieth Century. Of course Obama wants to erase that history—which he has been trying to undo through his economic policies, his EPA activism, and his desires to openly revert North America back to the times of the primitive.

Denali is the name of a primitive group of people who held the mountain in high regard due to their perspective victimization witnessed from their village huts. There’s nothing miraculous about pointing to a big rock on the horizon and declaring that it’s so large that man cannot climb it. But the wealth extracted from Alaska gold mining and oil drilling have created an economy that took mankind well off planet earth to look down on that small rock from space and point out Mount McKinley—a Republican that didn’t last long in office, but was reminiscent of a time when wealth was built and mankind stepped out of the shadows of their village huts. Mount McKinley isn’t a “great one.” It’s just a rock in the middle of Alaska, a state defined by its economic wealth and individualism. That extracted wealth is what sets Alaska apart from Siberia and makes all the difference between a great one and a mere rock on the horizon. And that’s what Obama and his gang of lost tribes are really desiring, a regression back to the time of the village living under the shadows of “Denali.” What they fail to understand is that mankind has overtaken the mountain and their limited perspective. And there is no going back now.

Rich Hoffman

 CLIFFHANGER RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

Listen to The Blaze Radio Network by CLICKING HERE.

Dominic Basulto’s Scientific Frontiers: More Implications of Star Wars Land in Disney by the Washington Post

I normally don’t do this, but Dominic Basulto’s article from the Washington Post is so good about the future implications of Star Wars and the new Disney Lands dedicated to the famous movie franchise, that I am posting it in its entirety below along with the origin links, just because I worry that people might not click on the link to take the next step to read it. I want to make it as easy as possible—because it is that good. After reading, make sure to click on the links, check out the sponsors of the Washington Post, because they rely on that kind of revenue, and consider yourself enriched. I wrote about nearly the same type of topic a few days ago, but I thought that Basulto’s article went a bit more to the science implication as opposed to the mythic and was important.

Over the last week I have taken some time to enjoy some of the fun things in life, Star Wars being one of them, and enjoyed enormously the great news coming out of Disney not just for myself, but for many of the reasons that Dominic Basulto illustrated in his article. I spent an entire day catching up on news from the 2015 Gen Con and all the great Star Wars news coming from Fantasy Flight Games. Like the implication of Star Wars upon the world of science, I can see this whole generation exploding into a grand fortissimo that far exceeds politics and contemporary society. As obsessed as the world of politics is currently with Donald Trump, the sheer numbers of these Star Wars supporters pales every other demographic group in comparison, and is evidence of a world tomorrow that will be much different from the world of today. To understand that world I watched hours of footage coming from X-Wing matches at Gen Con and studied what was coming from Fantasy Flight Games. But all that will be quickly eclipsed with the announcement of a Star Wars Land in Disney World. To understand that—dive into Basulto’s world and take a mental snapshot of a world about to arrive.

Over the weekend at the D23 Expo, Disney announced that it planned to create two new 14-acre “Star Wars” theme lands as part of its Disneyland and Disney World parks. The news, predictably, met with approval from the ranks of “Star Wars” supporters at the event.

But the news of Disney’s new theme parks has a far larger significance: it shows the extent to which science fiction is eating the world. And that’s good news — science fiction’s growing mind share of the nation’s youth is creating a stable base of future innovators.

Think about it — the generation that grew up on the Disney animation classics of the post-War era — “Alice in Wonderland” (1951), “Peter Pan” (1953), and “Sleeping Beauty” (1959) — has been replaced by a generation that grew up with “Star Wars” and all the other classic science fiction films of the 1970s and early 1980s. In 1977, the blockbuster film “Star Wars” launched an amazing cult franchise that shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.

That’s one reason why Disney spent $4.05 billion to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd. back in 2012 — the bottom-line realization is that science fiction has come a long way from its early roots as a nerdy niche and is now a platform for future growth. It’s also at the leading edge of creating immersive new experiences. At this weekend’s D23 Expo, Disney chief executive Bob Iger told fans that, “We are creating a jaw-dropping new world” in which “guests will truly become part of a Star Wars story.”

Science fiction is now a family affair and a very lucrative one at that — while kids may outgrow their Cinderella dolls by adolescence, there’s growing proof that they never really outgrow their love of “Star Wars.” Science fiction is the gift that keeps on giving, especially if you’re a huge corporation able to license product after product. There’s enough demand, in fact, to support the creation of sprawling new “Star Wars” theme worlds within already sprawling theme parks.

As science fiction continues to eat the world, which has important implications for how future generations think about science, creativity and innovation.

First and most importantly, think about the new gender roles that science fiction opens up. In the classic Disney fairy tale, what are the roles played by women and girls? They are princesses who spend their whole lives pining for a kiss from Prince Charming. The reason why “Frozen” has been such a phenomenal success for Disney, some have argued, is because it brought forward a new type of heroine – Elsa – who’s okay with her magical ice powers and just wants to be left alone.

Now, contrast that to the roles played by the likes of another princess — the “Star Wars” princess Leia Organa of Alderaan. She’s talented, driven, forceful, a leader and a fighter – and she’s also beautiful and a style icon, by the way. This explosion of possible roles for women, one could argue, has been one of the factors behind the phenomenal success of events such as Comic-Con. The wonderful variety of science fiction roles for women has inspired girls to dress up like their favorite heroines. At this year’s Comic-Con, the male/female ratio was almost exactly 50-50.

Then, think about the technological innovations in your classic Disney fairy tale — you have magic kisses, magic wands and magic abilities such as the ability to fly. You could argue that “Star Wars” offers high-tech updates on these themes — think of the “Star Wars” light saber as the ultimate magic wand, the Millennium Falcon as a way cooler version of a flying elephant, and all the assorted droids, gadgets and intergalactic villains as high-tech versions of the all plot elements in a Disney fairy tale.

There’s a whole sub-genre of innovation that might be characterized as Star Wars innovations — all the amazing innovations that people are trying to bring to fruition because of having watched “Star Wars.” A short list of amazing innovations inspired by “Star Wars” would include laser technology, artificial intelligence, robotics, alternative energy, holograms, prosthetics, genetic engineering and, yes, force field technology.

The reason why science fiction is so powerful as an innovation stimulus is because it creates the need for high-end special effects to create ever more realistic worlds within a science fiction narrative framework. That’s where Lucasfilm plays such an important role — all of those special effects help to push along the narrative in ways that excite the mind. All the great Disney films have a complex narrative filled with great costumes, curses, grudges and family intrigues — but when they’re combined with intergalactic empires and cosmic enemies, science fiction films have much greater ability to win over impressionable hearts and minds.

Still not convinced that science fiction is eating the world? Just wait until Halloween this year. Check out how many people make “Star Wars” a family affair. For every Cinderella and Prince Charming, you’re bound to encounter a Princess Leia and Han Solo. It used to be you needed to go to an event such as Comic-Con to dress up as your favorite science fiction character, soon you’ll be able to do it any day of the year at Disneyland or Disney World.

Dominic Basulto is a futurist and blogger based in New York City

http://www.washingtonpost.com/posttv/national/star-wars-lands-coming-to-disneyland-disney-world/2015/08/16/b60167d6-43ee-11e5-9f53-d1e3ddfd0cda_video.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/star-wars-themed-land-at-planned-at-disney-parks/2015/08/15/e25ea198-43aa-11e5-9f53-d1e3ddfd0cda_story.html?tid=ptv_rellink

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2015/08/18/disneys-star-wars-themed-lands-prove-that-science-fiction-has-arrived/

Rich Hoffman

 CLIFFHANGER RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

Listen to The Blaze Radio Network by CLICKING HERE.

The Millennium Falcon is my Thing: Wonderful news from Disney’s D23 Expo

Stunning is all I have to say about the news out of Disney regarding Star Wars.  Everyone who reads here and knows me understands that I am a Star Wars fan.  They know that my primary love in life is that of mythology and the power of it.  That one of my great personal teachers was the maverick professor at Sarah Lawrence College—Joseph Campbell and that I spent many of my formative years associating with the Joseph Campbell Foundation of which George Lucas was one of the Board of Directors.  And I have said on many occasions that I think the new Star Wars films, and all the books and media that will follow will reshape our modern culture not only regionally, but globally. There is tremendous power in Star Wars and Disney’s marketing machine will only accentuate that in glorious ways that only capitalism can fully extract.  The news around the upcoming film The Force Awakens is exciting.  But that’s not all, a whole slate of new films following that one are upcoming.  All the mythology that the previous six Star Wars films have produced over the last 30 years will soon be eclipsed by the six new films in the pipeline produced over the next six years.  And supporting those will be all new novels, video games, commercial products but best of all a new Star Wars land at the Disney parks.  Click here to read some of my previous work on this topic.  I predicted this a long time ago in a galaxy not so far away. 

For me the biggest news of this century which has stirred in me a delight that is quite epic is the information that not only will Disney build a 14 acre Star Wars specific land in both the Anaheim location and Orlando location, but that a full-sized Millennium Falcon will be present.  That is a game changer in these films that I have been wanting to see my entire life.  And now I’m going to get to see it.   At the D23 Expo over this last weekend Bob Iger released the details and showed the concept art and that just did it for me.  I have been in love with the Millennium Falcon since I was very young and it may actually be stronger today than even when I was a kid because not only through the movies, but the many novels, I have spent a lot of time on that ship in my head—and I completely understand the world it traverses through.  I am very happy that Disney as a company has done precisely what I said they would do with the Star Wars acquisition when they first bought it in 2012 and at the heart of it they intend to keep the Millennium Falcon a central character to the entire saga.

Honestly if Jesus Christ came again to judge the living and the dead on judgment day and I had a chance to attend that or to go see the Millennium Falcon in real life, I would choose the Falcon.  I am pretty stoic when it comes to controlling my emotions.  I don’t get crazy about many things—especially sad things. But I do allow myself to feel elation over positive things, and I really don’t know how I will handle seeing a Millennium Falcon in real life—seriously.  When the place opens I may take a week of vacation just to reside in that land day after day soaking up everything—because I love the Star Wars mythology from top to bottom—and within that world I have a love of the Millennium Falcon that is central to that passion.  Still to this day, out of all the successes and experiences I’ve had—which are quite extraordinary, things I’ve won and achieved—one of the best memories I have ever had was seeing the real life model of the Millennium Falcon in the Smithsonian in 1997.  I really felt when I put my hands against the glass that I had died and gone to heaven.  It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever put my eyes on.  Given that context I really don’t know how I’ll react to seeing a model of the Falcon in full-scale that I can walk up to and see close.

Han Solo is the modern embodiment of the classic western cowboy.  His quick draw pistol is famous within the Star Wars storyline and his super fast Millennium Falcon gives a tip of the hat to two film genres, the classic car hot rod and a gun fighting cowboy.  Those two things are just impossible not to like—and to top that off, the Falcon was a pirate ship within that galaxy—so I’m not the only one who finds the Millennium Falcon appealing.  I was amazed to see Harrison Ford on stage at D23, and that it was Han Solo who made the cut on the new poster for The Force Awakens.  There will be a new film about specifically Han Solo as a young 20 something that will be exciting, so there is a lot of news coming from Disney to be excited about for—particularly for Millennium Falcon fans.  I know how I feel about all this information, so I can’t help but think of the scientific implications of it.

As recently as last week I was thinking of a way to build a real Millennium Falcon as a real usable space vessel moving to and from earth to explore the reaches of space.  I really don’t think we are that far away, and one design with sentimental value is as good as any other.  The Falcon offers a lot of options for deep space travel particularly in its circular design.  A change of scenery is important when spending a lot of time in space, and the Falcon is cleverly designed for just such an experience.

Also announced at D23 was the new photo for Rogue One which showed Felicity Jones as the main actress standing among a group of daredevils and hackers about to steal the Death Star plans leading up to the original Star Wars film,  A New Hope.  As I looked at that I couldn’t help but wonder if she wasn’t playing Bria Tharen who was one of Han Solo’s girl friends from the Expanded Universe.  If she was her back story could easily be a part of the stand alone Han Solo film coming on May 25th 2018.  I’m already in line!  Likely being that young, Han Solo wouldn’t yet have the Millennium Falcon, but I’m sure it will make an appearance in that film as the ship owned by Lando Calrissian.   It is obvious that Disney, knowing the popularity of the vessel is finding ways to put it in most of the new Star Wars films in some support role or another.  There will also be a Boba Fett film and in that story I’m sure he will be chasing around a younger Han Solo in the Millennium Falcon—so there is a theme emerging that is quite justifiable in placing a full-sized Falcon in the center of the new Star Wars land at Disney.

Knowing the effect the Falcon has had on me I shudder to think of what effect it will have on a new generation who can actually walk up and touch it.  I got goose bumps the first time I saw new footage of the Falcon in a hangar on the Star Tours ride in Orlando.  Part of the ride flies off behind the popular vessel in a dog fight and I was blasted with excitement in just seeing it sit there.  For my birthday this year we went to Dave & Busters just so I could fly the Falcon in the video game there exclusive to the popular gaming destination.  But these are all images that take imagination to enjoy.  They are not something you can put your hands on and feel.  Disney is now taking that step and I am emphatically excited about it.  I think the influence it will have on science for years to come will be extraordinary.  These new films will open up the mythology in ways that nobody thought was possible before and the effect they will have on civilization will be extremely powerful.  Being able to reach out and touch it will just make it that much more influential as a mythic device.  So yes, there is a lot of good news floating around out there.  But for me, nothing is more exciting than the D23 news coming out of Disney.  I would pay $100,000 just to see an actual movie prop of the Falcon on set.  I would spend unknown amounts to see one all dressed up at Disney World.  The Millennium Falcon is my thing—and I share that with a lot of other enthusiasts. It was probably the best thing that Disney could have done with Star Wars—and they are just getting started.  I can’t wait to see what’s next!

Rich Hoffman

 CLIFFHANGER RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

Listen to The Blaze Radio Network by CLICKING HERE.

The Blaze Coverage of Tesla: Zero to 60 in 3.2 seconds and a smiling Preston Tucker

I was listening to Pat and Stu on The Blaze Radio Network when Glenn Beck rushed into the studio to interrupt their show declaring with great excitement that he had just driven one of the new Model S Tesla dual motor cars that accelerated from zero to 60 in 3.2 seconds. Beck offered anybody who wanted to test drive one of the new cars by Elon Musk a free ride which immediately sent the radio crew into tapes so they could take Beck up on his offer. Musk has been proving himself to be leaps beyond the current automobile offerings. I have been complexly turned off to electric cars viewing them as environmental wacko projects—because electricity is still largely generated by fossil fuels. However, the magic of the Model S and the rest of the Tesla product line is the dual engine concept which removes all the mechanical linkages which inefficiently drop power dispersal in conventional cars. The Tesla delivers power exactly where it’s needed achieving supercar acceleration in a car that is priced like a regular luxury car.   Watch Stu’s test drive in the following video.

http://www.glennbeck.com/2015/03/19/i-thought-i-was-going-to-pass-out-glenn-test-drives-a-tesla/

One of my favorite and deeply personal movies is the George Lucas production Tucker: A Man and his Dreams. In that classic film Preston Tucker invented a car that was far superior to the products being put out by the Big Three–Ford , GM, and Chrysler in 1948. Tucker is certainly one of the people I most admire and he was about the age I am now when he was trying to get his Tucker car off the ground. Otto Kerner was a US attorney who on behalf of the Big Three attacked Tucker for making his revolutionary car “too good.” Kerner was later jailed for three years and fined $50,000 for 17 counts of bribery, conspiracy, perjury and other charges for stock fraud. The result was that Tucker’s cars featuring a 5.4 liter Franklin 0-335 aircraft engine with hydraulic vales, fuel injection, torque converters on each of the rear wheel—disk brakes, a padded dashboard, self-sealing tubeless tires, and an independent springless suspension—was stopped before it even got started. At the time it was an incredible car about thirty years ahead of its time. The Big Three rather than compete with Tucker looked to bury him, literally suppressing automotive development for nearly a half century thereafter. Only now are they finally starting to climb out of the stalemate technologically that they have been under for so long. Tucker never went to jail, but he never got his car to production either.

Elon Musk unlike Tucker was much wealthier going into the project and was able to achieve market domination in the electric car market while the Big Three were reeling from years of mismanagement and stagnate technological development. At the same time foreign offerings were starting to finally bore Americans. Musk using American ingenuity and the benefits of capitalism launched a new car company that has put on the road a car far in excess of the current offerings. It is technically well ahead of its time and is setting a new standard.

Even as I write this roller coaster season is coming to Southern Ohio where I live. I love the technology of roller coasters and have watched them evolve from wooden roller coasters to the sleek new metal coasters. The electric current launches common now in the best of them make it seem like the logical next step for personal transportation. But it took Elon Musk to actually use the technology in a way that should have been applied decades ago. Tesla’s technology is only state-of-the art because the technology involved was purposely underdeveloped to protect the industry of old. Yet the direction of General Motors didn’t save them from going bankrupt before 2010. The direction of the old cars just doesn’t meet the future, and they failed as a company. In amusement parks new technology comes out all the time to unleash new sensations to thrill parks. The same enthusiasm should have been carried over into personal transportation—but it wasn’t—leaving the door wide open for someone like Musk.

And Musk isn’t alone, just a few days ago I wrote an article about the new self driving Mercedes, and of course Richard Branson is emerging into the market. Both Branson and Musk are also building companies that are punching the reaches of space—so it is natural that their automotive companies are going to push the limits of previous mediocrity. The race for the best between Musk, Branson and the rest coming into the field of play will change the way we all transport ourselves around and I’m excited to see how it transpires.

With the electric car power is not so easily lost to where the tires hit the road. I can easily see a day where the very power that makes them run could be cheaply produced through Thorium energy leaving cars that never ran out of power—no matter where on earth they are. Power creation is another field of endeavor that has been deliberately suppressed by the previous generation. For the same reason that traditional coal power was kept over the emerging technology of Thorium Tucker was destroyed so to protect the Big Three—but to what result? The big companies failed anyway, just as the current energy creation companies will—its only a matter of time before someone breaks through the deliberate suppression of better methods using competition to drive human beings toward advancement.

It was exciting listening to Pat and Stu during the Tesla portion of their show. It was unscripted and their enthusiasm was noticeable, and contagious. In just a few weeks, I have been largely won over by The Blaze and their coverage of this emerging technology. If I could have a car that goes from zero to 60 so quickly without the noise and violent expulsion of energy—I’d take it. If it’s truly better, it should replace the old, and there is nothing wrong with that. It is something we should all embrace and thank because it is yet another example of the wonderful attributes of capitalism and the excitement that comes from minds un-tethered from the rules of engagement established by criminals like Otto Kerner. When people like Elon Musk have success, like he is with his Tesla Company—I smile a bit to myself at a victory Tucker predicted would happen. Musk is doing what Tucker couldn’t—and that makes me very happy to see someone—ANYONE—doing it.

Rich Hoffman

 CLIFFHANGER RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

Listen to The Blaze Radio Network by CLICKING HERE.

The Nights Before Christmas: White House guilt in the IRS targeting of conservative groups

Shhhhhhhhh, do you hear that dear reader?  SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.  It’s a few nights before Christmas and not a creature is stirring…………..not even a mouse.  Instead, they are all huddled together in the cracks of society planning what to do next.  If you listen carefully you can hear them making their plans at damage control.  Did you wonder why Obama suddenly showed courage and support for Hollywood in the face of North Korean aggression when he had blamed an anti-Muslim video for the whole Bengahzi incident?  And could the timing of the Cuban deal have come months before, or several months later—instead of right now.  And how about the executive orders in favor of amnesty?  SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, listen carefully.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released a report Tuesday that found the Obama White House turned the IRS into a political organization that has spent years attacking conservative groups.  Yet with all the noise surrounding Christmas, the 18 trillion-dollar debt, the Korean crises, the Cuban crises, the Chinese crises, the declining Russian economy, the parade of scandals following the Obama White House like tin cans chained to a beat up car hosting newlyweds after a shotgun wedding, the race wars in America, the plummeting gas prices, there just isn’t any room in people’s minds for the most important news item of them all—how the government from the very top used the IRS as a personal weapon to attack political rivals so that their regime could stay in power during the 2012 election.  Here’s some of what the report said:

“The Internal Revenue Service has compromised its traditional position as an independent tax administrator,” the report found. “The IRS’s inability to keep politics out of objective decisions about interpretation of the tax code damaged its primary function: an apolitical tax collector that Americans can trust to treat them fairly.”

The report indicated that improper IRS activities began with a 2010 comment from President Barack Obama, who said some of the Tea Party groups were being funded with corporate money, and “we don’t know where this money is coming from.” That criticism was prompted by Democratic reactions to the Citizens United case in the Supreme Court, which many Democrats blamed for allowing the wealthy to pour more money into campaigns.

Five days after Obama spoke in 2010, former IRS official Lois Lerner spoke at Duke University and said many wanted the IRS to “fix the problem.”

“The pressure to ‘fix the problem,’ as articulated by Lois Lerner, originated with President Obama and senior party leadership,” the report found. “For twenty-several months, from February 2010 until May 2012, the Internal Revenue Service systematically targeted conservative tax-exempt applicants for additional scrutiny and delay.”

“As prominent Democratic politicians and the media condemned conservative non-profit groups, the IRS sought ways to rein in the groups’ political speech,” the report found. “Lois Lerner initiated a ‘c4 project’ — careful to ensure that it was not ‘per se political’ — and called applications filed by Tea Party groups “very dangerous” because she believed that they could undo existing IRS limits on non-profit political speech.”

That led to additional scrutiny of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status. The report said that while a few groups were targeted with the words “progress” or “progressive” in their title, almost all were conservative-leaning organizations.

The decision to target conservative groups was followed by later decisions to cover it up, and blame lower level workers for the initiative.

The report also blamed Obamacare, which gave the IRS a key role in implementing Obama’s health program, for turning the IRS into an arm of the White House, when it should have remained independent.

“Evidence shows an IRS responsive to the partisan policy objectives of the White House and an IRS leadership that coordinates with political appointees of the Obama administration,” it found.

It said efforts to cover up the scandal were ultimately led by Obama himself. Obama initially said the IRS’s actions were inexcusable, but later said there was not a “smidgen of corruption” at the IRS.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/12/22/report-blames-obama-white-house-for-turning-the-irs-into-a-political-weapon/

 

Yet there’s a good bet that the report will be largely ignored.  Most of the premier newscasters are on vacation using replacements to fill the airtime while everyone has their eyes on the Christmas Holiday and time with families.  The story will likely die on the vine as everyone is thinking about everything but the IRS.  Even those who do watch the news over the holiday season do not give it much weight as their minds are heavily encumbered with social obligations—and that is all by design.  Obama and his White House simply overloaded the news cycle with news bits with such density that most people’s heads would simply explode if they tried to take it all in.

So punishment for the IRS crime and the “smidgen” of evidence pouring in from the White House will go unpunished.  When the senate released their report about the waterboarding torture conducted by the CIA under the Bush administration—the entire news cycle covered the story even as Paul Gruber was testifying on the Hill about the deceptions that helped Obamacare get passed as a new tax because Americans were too stupid to notice—his words.  But regarding the White House aggression in using the IRS as a personal political weapon next to nothing will be said, even on Fox News because all the heavy hitters are on vacation and by the time they come back in January, there will be new things to talk about and the IRS story will be old hat—and uninteresting.

But the proof that the White House was involved from the very start of the scandal is there.  You just have to listen very closely to hear it.  SHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.  Do you hear it now?  Good, so can I..  Now, what do you want to do about it?

Rich Hoffman

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‘The Force Awakens’ Preview: Canon versus fan boy reinvention–concern on the horizen

I am one of the few people who saw the new Star Wars preview for Episode 7 and did not get all that excited. My daughter and I were at the Barnes and Nobel at Newport on the Levee as she was catching up on the New Jedi Order books and we were talking about the new preview which saw millions upon millions of views depending on where it was seen on YouTube in just 24 hours. Some sources had 24 million views in that time frame whereas the official Star Wars site had over 8 million. I’m not that excited about the new story because for one, Han Solo will likely be killed and unless Lucasfilm follows the story line they have been on for over twenty years with their expanded universe I will not be able to accept a new story canon—as I’m too invested. It just won’t work for me. Once Han Solo is out of the picture, there won’t be anything for me in Star Wars any more. Even if there are the planned Han Solo stand alone films, if they do not follow the storyline of the six novels I have read about the origin of Solo, I will likely reject the movies and stick with the books. The whole thing will only work if Lucasfilm keeps everything in continuity with each other.

I told my daughter to get the New Jedi Order books and continue reading them, because there is some great stuff in that series. It is quite possible by watching the trailer that the Daisy Ridley character is Jaina Solo and that the X-Wing pilot is Jag and that the Sith story line that was built up in the Legacy of the Force novels will be the jumping off point for these new movies. It would make sense. But she reminded me that most franchises—particularly Marvel are mixing and mashing story lines with revision and under those circumstances, Star Wars would be making a huge mistake. I told her that I didn’t think they were that stupid—and I don’t think they are. I think most of the story lines leaked out are false ones meant to keep fans in the dark and in doubt. But, there is the part of me that has been so let down by bad decisions made by other people in the past, that it wouldn’t surprise me if my daughter was right. In that case this next Star Wars film will likely be it for me—and I’m sure I’m not alone.

I just don’t see Lucasfilm isolating all their long-term fans with revisionist history in the overall Star Wars mythology. Scrapping the stories of several New York Times best sellers just doesn’t make any sense for anybody. There are many fans who have been with Star Wars through the lean years so taking away the story arcs that they fell in love with would not give the franchise the fuel to carry the kind of numbers Disney needs out of this mythology. Without question the new Star Wars film, The Force Awakens will do great initial numbers—but realistically—it needs to be a two billion dollar money-maker at the global box office to hold up to the aims that Disney has for it—and if people like me jump off the ship—I don’t see how they get there. There are obviously a new generation of people who will enjoy them but Star Wars just doesn’t benefit from having a split fan base of people who liked Star Wars before Disney took ownership and those after.

There was nothing in the new trailer that told me that my thoughts weren’t the case, so I am still hopeful. But from the new preview I wanted confirmation that Lucasfilm didn’t decide to take the revisionist route in the story arc.   They didn’t give me that assurance—so anxiety toward the new film was my reaction. In many ways my concerns stem from the new cartoon Rebels—which is alright, but you can certainly tell that George Lucas is not a part of the stories anymore. The content in the new Star Wars cartoon is good, and fun—but much too light. The program is being made by fan boys essentially—like myself and that’s fine so long as it doesn’t screw up the overall story lines of the greater mythology. If it does, and these new filmmakers stray off the path—then there is trouble ahead for Star Wars.

It is possible that Rebels will come around once these filmmakers get their teeth deeper into the story and become more comfortable with the characters—but so far I see Lucasfilm and Disney painting themselves into a corner they don’t need to. Without George, I have my doubts that the whole thing will work because of what I’ve so far seen in Rebels and what they didn’t show in the new Force Awakens movie trailer.

Pablo Hildago who is part of the new story group said in his book The Essential Guide to Star Wars that it was possible that Lucas might revise the canon around the films—that the movies were the establishing parameters. Yet Pablo is the essential guide to the expanded universe and with him a major member of the story group—I just can’t see them making decisions that ruin years of publishing from the guide books to the novels. To do that would be a disaster for the Star Wars franchise. For families like mine where we own every single Star Wars book that there ever was—making them suddenly irrelevant would isolate our investment. So from a business perspective, I just don’t see a rejection of the expanded universe canon. It would be the dumbest thing to do in entertainment. I am a die-hard Star Wars fan and the prospect of a change in canon from what I’ve invested twenty years into to suddenly accept something a bunch of fan boys came up with second-hand is not possible. I would lose my enthusiasm for the upcoming films instantly.

But for now the new film looks great from the preview. Basically, if the female lead is Jaina Solo I’m good for a new generation. If it isn’t, then my love of Star Wars essentially stops now and it will become like a James Bond franchise for me which I’ll watch for fun, but cannot buy into the character since Sean Connery stepped away from the movies. Sean Connery was James Bond canon whether or not anybody likes it. Accepting someone else in that role just never worked. Star Wars is even more sensitive to this issue.

So we’ll see. I told my daughter to stick with Star Wars, read New Jedi Order and all the other books because they perfectly set up another movie by the time a reader comes to the end of the Legacy series. But the new preview didn’t do anything personally for me because I wanted to see assurance that Lucasfilm didn’t screw the pooch. In some ways they gave cryptic indications, such as the Ridley character with a lightsaber mounted to the side of a strange vehicle, and the X-Wings flying in formation with someone who could easily be Jag leading. But if those characters aren’t present—then it would be impossible for me to accept a substitute. It would just be too much to kill off the most beloved character in the series and accept a bunch of new characters not part of the twenty plus year canon formed by the novels. Until that confirmation is materialized, I will be skeptical and not all that enthusiastic to see something very good come to a bitter end.

Rich Hoffman

www.OVERMANWARRIOR.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rich Hoffman

www.OVERMANWARRIOR.com