The Power of Positive Thinking: Persistance is the most important attribute of success

I have more to say about the recent Michael Keaton movie, The Founder than I did during a recent review (click here to read that).  The Founder was one of those unique movies that truly crosses many boundaries of intellectual thought and within it is a little hidden gem that I thought was remarkably well articulated.   Disguised as a simple movie The Founder captures in a bottle the essence of Norman Vincent Peale’s “Power of Positive Thinking” which is a very real thing.  I don’t know if I have it naturally because I grew up in many of the same places that Peale did and went to many of the same small churches in the Ohio region—specifically Cincinnati.  But it’s always been a part of my life this idea explored in the film—that persistence is the most valuable trait attributed to success that there is anywhere in the world and it is the magic ingredient that is unlocked through the philosophy of capitalism.

If Ray Kroc and Donald Trump turned to Norman Vincent Peale it was for me the 30-minute span of time in Raiders of the Lost Ark, where Indiana Jones was stuck in a tomb with snakes, to the point where he was about to be run over by a truck in the famous chase scene of that classic movie that did it for me.  I was always a positive person who never understood the word quit, but for me that movie set me on a life path of understanding of how important persistence was to the human condition.  When Indiana Jones a few scenes after the truck chase swam over to the Nazi submarine that for me was my version of Norman Vincent Peale.  But of course over time I have refined that type of thinking to make it my own.  But once you get it, it makes you a unique person for life however it comes to you, and it’s something very specific to American culture.

One thing I that really jumped out at me while staying in England for an extended period of time was the structured limitations they put on themselves as a country.  I love that they read, and that they speak well—but people who have a tenacious persistence toward objectives is lacking.  Their culture does not produce such people naturally.  They get their occasional Richard Branson, or their Gorden Ramsay but on the street level charismatic characters such as what makes people like Ray Kroc are missing.  I thought it was a very powerful moment while at a convention panel discussing the movie The Founder that Michael Keaton hit the nerve absolutely on the keys to American capitalism perfectly.  Keaton stated that people from other countries just didn’t get “it,” what made Ray Kroc more than an American villain—but a hero of capitalism.  People outside of America are often mystified by the tenacious quality of Americans which is born from culture, family and pre-kindergarten education.  Other countries are missing the element of personal freedom so the traits that breed persistence into people from the age of infants is missing. You could see the same comments from socialist oriented publications talking about The Founder—they all wanted to view Kroc as a villain when in fact he wasn’t.  His character was far more complicated than that.  In a socialist society the value of a human being might be interpreted by how much they sacrifice of themselves in service to others—whereas in the capitalist definition it is in how much war is won in the name of success which therefore translates directly to improving the lives of everyone.  In the film The Founder Kroc proposes to the McDonald brothers that if they didn’t want to franchise the McDonald’s brand for their own profit then they should do it for the good of America—which is precisely what ended up happening.  Kroc never took no for an answer and just kept coming at the McDonald brothers until they gave in—which is a trait of most successful enterprises.  Most success in life doesn’t come from lucky shots and instant millions in the bank account—it comes from decades of rejection where a person never gives up and preservers against all odds because they simply wear out the opposition.   That is a specifically American concept and it is so evident in people like the real Norman Vincent Peale and Donald Trump.  It’s also there in American culture in fictional characters like Indiana Jones—which is why those movies have such resonance in our culture many decades later.  Because it speaks to the hopeful child in all of us that if we just work harder and longer we will eventually punch through.   Most of the miserable people who Henry David Thoreau referred to when he said “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation, and go to the grave with the song still in them,” are your friends and neighbors who arrive at middle age sad, fat, and bored.  That is because what has died in them is that childlike persistence to attempt to walk, learn the alphabet, and learn to speak.   For people, lucky enough to preserve these traits in themselves into adulthood the world is a lot better off because of them.

Like they said in The Founder, which is what Michael Keaton was trying to frame within a global context during the aforementioned press conference, which many people just don’t understand—is that the most valuable trait to the pursuit of success is persistence.  You can have really smart people on a project, yet it won’t be successful if there is a lack of persistence present to drive things forward.  You can have strong people, beautiful people, or even conniving people, and a project won’t be successful unless there is someone there with vision fueled by persistence to accomplish a task.  (Robert Persig, Metaphysics of Quality)  For instance, Walt Disney is all about the story of persistence.  It’s not about talent, or even having a better idea than the next person.  Walt never quit trying hard for decades to get his ideas off the ground.  The same thing could be said of George Lucas and his Star Wars franchise.  He was “persistent” and if he hadn’t been there never would have been a Star Wars.  Persistence is the key to all endeavors.  If a person has persistence they are more valuable than people with great educations, great skills, and great beauty.   Persistence is the key to any successful enterprise and behind most stories of success, luck is not the driving factor, its persistence.  Luck sometimes happens, but persistence, the kind that Ray Kroc had in The Founder, is what defines success or failure.

People who have given up in life and turn to socialism for a means of feeding themselves without the shame of admitting what they’ve become hate people who are “persistent”  They may go watch an Indiana Jones movie and admire the persistence of the character and within the darkened theater, root for such people, but when they meet them in real life they hate them with a passion not because of the persistent people themselves, but because of what they’ve lost along the way that made them accept average results.  There are a lot of people in life who are like the McDonald brothers—successful people who figure out a better way to do simple things—but the world never hears from them because they stay in their little restaurants and live their little lives contently happy to remain there.  Then you have people like Ray Kroc who struggle most of their life to make it big from one idea to another always ready but never give up.  Because they never quit, and are persistent they are always in the game—much like the New England Patriots were in that great Super Bowl that wrapped up the 2016 season—never quitting, never yielding until they eventually ground out a win.  Or Donald Trump campaigning at 1 AM in the morning at Michigan the night before the massive American election in November of 2016.  Persistence equals wins—not every time, but the averages favor those who are always trying to win whether they are cleaning toilets or making multimillion dollar deals.

Persistance is not taught in our schools, but it is an aspect of American culture and explains why many people who are persistent are some of the greatest treasures to capitalism and our American economy that we have—and no school can lay claim to making them that way.  It’s created from deep inside during their infancy years.  I always had it, and I recognized it in Raiders of the Lost Ark when Indiana Jones just never stopped trying to get the Ark of the Covenant back from the Nazis.  In my life I purposely take on projects that would otherwise be impossible but for my endless persistence just to prove my thoughts true to all the people who have told me all my life that things are impossible.  My greatest thrill is in doing the impossible with sheer persistence.  I’ve done things in life that would have killed many people many times over from either suicide or public shame—and I have done them with an internal persistence that doesn’t come from any worldly reference.  It is beyond space and time even, and I consider it the greatest gift that a person can possess.  It should be the number one trait people list on a resume—but unfortunately most people don’t see it or understand it—otherwise they’d be better off.  But I can say that our American way of life makes more of them—and that alone makes the United States the most moral country on earth.  And that’s no small thing.

Rich Hoffman

 CLIFFHANGER RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

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‘The Founder’, Movie Review: Why the battles of capitalism are worth all the blood they spill

I didn’t catch it when it was released in the theaters, but that didn’t stop me from buying the Blu-Ray at the first opportunity because I knew it would be a brilliant film—and it was.  The Founder starring Michael Keaton was just that—and it may well be the most important film you’ll see this year—or whenever you read this.  If you haven’t seen the film, do it now.  Don’t even finish reading this.  Just go see it.  I adored the film and personally I could relate to the type of character that Michael Keaton played as likely the most true to life rendition of Ray Kroc ever done—the founder of the McDonald’s franchise concept.  Readers here know I love McDonald’s; I make no secret of it.  I love a lot of things in life but I always have a special place for McDonald’s and the reason for my love was summed up extraordinarily well in the great movie directed by John Lee Hancock.

The Founder is all about innovation and American ingenuity.  It’s not always pretty, not always civil—but the engine that drives American capitalism specifically was captured so wonderfully well in this great movie that its worth watching and should be done in every American household.  Another favorite of my is the great Francis Ford Coppola classic, Tucker: The Man and his Dream—this movie might as well been the sequel to how innovative American enterprise was in the period from 1940 up until the 1960s.  The Founder is about nothing short than the invention of the fast food industry which has left the biggest mark on world culture that we’ve ever witnessed.

When I walk into a McDonald’s no matter where it is in the world I think of this creation story of Ray Kroc and his relationship to the fabulous McDonald brothers.  I simply love all those people even though as the story shows, Ray Kroc unethically outwitted them in the end to take possession of the company that featured their name—and that was likely a good thing for the invention of fast food.  In fact, I think the scene in The Founder where Kroc and two other people (one who would become his future wife) were discussing a new way to produce a milk shake.  It was one of the best scenes in film history because it captured so well the risk and innovation that was going on all the time during that post World War II period in America which we today all take for granted.  Imagine the skepticism that making a synthetic milkshake with powder was to the naiveté of the 1950s generation yet without people with the drive and charisma of Ray Kroc, we’d all still be eating a lot slower and living a lot less productively.  Anti-capitalists of course would love to go back to the days where it took 30 minutes to get a hamburger—instead of 30 seconds—but American society as we know it now was built on the extra productivity per capita that specifically came from the invention of fast food that started with McDonald’s.  To me that makes the company and this movie enormously relevant.

I’ve had McDonald’s in many countries around the world and to me it is always a piece of home.  Most dramatically my wife and I had a McDonald’s across the street from our hotel in Cancun which probably saved our lives.  We were both sick from our experience with a cenote inland on the Yucatan Peninsula where we were swimming on a very hot day.  The Mexicans use such places as their only relief from their terrible living conditions as most of them live in thatched huts.  I saw fish swimming around in the water so I figured it couldn’t be too bad, and it was clear water.   The local people were used to such bacterially infested water, we weren’t and the next day we were both terribly sick and massively dehydrated.  We lost trust in the local water supply even in such a popular resort town.  But we knew the quality control of the McDonald’s across the street was our best chance at a good meal—because many of the materials that made the material came from the United States.  So for the rest of our trip, we only ate at McDonald’s even though we had access to some of the best places to eat that the world offered.  We didn’t feel we could trust the water since our systems had been disrupted at the cenote.  Those Golden Arches were one of the best experiences I ever had eating.  I can say that my wife and I have had some fine dining in many of the best places in exotic cities and that McDonald’s meal for us was our best because we were so parched and in need of food familiar to our diet with tightly controlled filtered water.

Another time for me was in Japan.  I was so tired of eating seaweed and octopus.  I was trying to be respectful to their culture, but I woke up one morning really looking for some American food so I found a McDonald’s in the middle of the very nice city of Kobe.  Now consider I had just had authentic Kobe Beef the night before with some great wine and immaculate other dishes.  But at 7 AM in Japan after a hard week of work I wanted a Sausage and Egg McMuffin from McDonald’s with a nice big Coke.  When I found one I found a nice place to eat it off in the corner of the restaurant and it will always be one of the best meals I’ve ever had.  There is a lot to be said about the consistency of McDonald’s food because it is pretty much the same anywhere you go and someday when I visit the moon I plan to eat at McDonald’s because it will give a stable diet to my body in an unfamiliar environment—and sometimes that is better than the actual flavors of the food.  I find that when I’m doing hard things, whether they are exotic adventures or tough business engagements, or even intense competitions, McDonald’s provides stability in a diet that is consistent and that is often far more valuable.

A lot of those techniques that make McDonald’s food so constantly fast and reliable were developed by the McDonald’s brothers and marketed to the world by Ray Kroc and we are all better for it.  When I’m having a really rough week, it is not unusual for me to stop by and grab some McDonald’s breakfast on my way to do whatever I’m dreading, because it does bring me a lot of joy to have that food. So a story about how that remarkable place was born is a lot of fun to see, especially as honest of a movie as this is.  Essentially, the McDonald’s brothers developed a great idea and a means to make food fast.  But it was Ray Kroc who put them into every city and was able to take the chance to pound out the fast food concept as a chain of real estate transactions.  That was really the hinge point of the entire McDonald’s story, that the business concept of franchising wasn’t in the food itself, but in the real estate transactions involved, where McDonald’s owned the stores and franchise owners would lease the spots—which put the quality control firmly in the hands of the company—instead of the individual owners.  That was the key and it took someone like Ray Kroc to pound out the idea.  The McDonald brothers were simply too nice to make that next step plunge.

In the end the point of the movie was a clear definition of capitalism that was spelled out clearly.  When Kroc tells the McDonald brothers that his business was war and if he saw a competitor drowning—that he’d put a hose down their throat to finish them off.  Mac McDonald wouldn’t have done that and neither would his brother.  That essentially was why they failed to move beyond their initial concepts but no further.  To make projects work you need a Ray Kroc type of person or things just stall, and that is what makes capitalism such an elusive concept elsewhere in the world.  Every business needs their dreamers, and their concept people—but in the end they need someone who can bring persistence to whatever is being attempted.  Ray Kroc with all their faults was undaunted by the prospect of failure.  He had failed over and over through his entire life and in the end; he was speaking with Governor Reagan just before he was elected president as the most successful restaurateur in the world.

McDonald’s makes all of our lives more efficient.  My daughter often before she picks up her kids at our house brings them Happy Meals from McDonald’s to entice them to get into the car and go home.  It helps her to give them quick food while as a busy young parent time is often short.  The ability to get a Happy Meal frees her time up making her much more productive in other ways.  And the same story could be told for all of us, whether its breakfast on the go in the morning or a relief far from home while traveling on the other side of the world.  McDonald’s makes an essential thing we all must do in our lives—which is eat—faster making it so that we can do many other things in our 24 hour day possible.

This movie is just a champ—it captures the American Dream in ways I’m not sure even the filmmakers realized.  For instance, why was Ray Kroc so obsessed with the idea of franchising the McDonald’s concept when he had a nice wife, a nice house, and a membership into an exclusive country club with rich friends?  Isn’t that what people want in America?  And why did the McDonald brothers work so hard to find faster ways to make food more reliably?  The answer goes beyond the wealth that can be achieved by such endeavors.  It is in the hunt of doing them which makes this story different from any other.  Ray Kroc wasn’t about personal jets and boardrooms, even though those things did come to him over time—it was about the thrill of doing something impossible for the benefit of doing something that had never been done before.  That is what drove all the protagonists in this story and what’s wonderful about it is that it was a true story.  It is in that concept that American capitalism works so well and how when those battles are fought the benefits get sprinkled so wonderfully to the rest of the world.  The wars of capitalism are worth fighting because the byproduct of it makes all of society better.  Even though capitalism can be ruthless, the products that come about as a result advance civilization and it is people like Ray Kroc and the McDonald brothers who best exemplify the American Dream.  Not in their successes as much as in their eternal optimism to keep trying until they finally do win—or die trying.

Rich Hoffman

 CLIFFHANGER RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

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Canadian Socialism: WLW’s poor choice in selective advertising and how America isn’t going back

This is one of those snarky media things that really irritates me—because there is a presumption that they know more than the rest of us.  But in my case at least—they don’t.  I’m usually polite toward other people who don’t work as hard at knowing things as I do, but when you run into one of these little smart asses it deserves a review in front of the class.  First WLW radio put out a little story on Twitter seen below, about Canadians disparaging Trump as if that were some kind of story.  Now, everyone here knows my history with WLW—I think they are too liberal since the exit of Darryl Parks and I stopped listening to them or doing little things for their various shows way back then.  AM radio is a dying medium so they are useless to me. When I saw them say something nasty about Trump, I responded accordingly.  I worked hard for the Trump campaign in Ohio, and I continue to do so when necessary.  The nature of my comment was that seldom does any media outlet acknowledge the dirty little secret that Canadians are socialist and the only way their society even begins to have any decent standard of living is that they have a very low population to support with their socialism, and they get all the economic spillover that comes with being the northern neighbor of the United States.  If that Justin Trudeau kid was running a country south of Mexico, Canada would be in just as bad of a situation as Venezuela is currently.  But because Canada shares so much trade with the United States, because we share rivers and lakes with them, they get to enjoy the change that falls out of our pockets as a rich nation.  There is nothing brilliant about the Canadian economy or their commitment to socialism.  Let’s get that clear from the start here.  I’m not a fan of Canada because of their left-winged politics.

But our American media and most of our left-winged entertainment culture love Canada for all those socialist reasons—and they are supposedly educated people.  Enter this Chad Selweski guy who responded to my Tweet to WLW Radio with the following smart assed answer from what he calls a “centrist viewpoint” as a media guy with some experience.  The only reason I point this out is because he represents largely what the mainstream media thinks about things and you quickly get an idea about why our media is so screwed up.

By his own words, Chad Selweski is a freelance writer and blogger with a centrist point of view from suburban Detroit, Macomb County (population 870,000), home of the “Reagan Democrats.” Selweski worked as the political reporter for The Macomb Daily for 30 years.

At The Macomb Daily, Selweski:

  • Earned 50 journalism awards for the newspaper from organizations such as the Associated Press, United Press International, Michigan Press Association, Detroit Chapter of SPJ, Detroit Press Club, Suburban Newspapers of America, and the State Bar of Michigan.
  • Was named by Politico.com in 2014 as one of the “Media Stars” in seven political battleground states.
  • Received in 1998 the highest honor ever granted to a Macomb Daily journalist, the SNA’s National Suburban Journalist of the Year award.
  • Covered the 2000 presidential election recount in Florida, from Tallahassee and Palm Beach County.
  • Interviewed numerous national figures, including President George H.W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, Colin Powell, Rudy Giuliani, Al Gore, Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean, Dennis Hastert, Reince Priebus, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Carly Fiorina, Gen. Wesley Clark, Peter Jennings, George Will, Steve Forbes, Mike Dukakis, Richard Gephardt and Gen. Barry McCaffery.

https://www.politicscentral.org/about/

Socialism isn’t funny or cute—yet it’s being taught by a majority of our current education institutions in spite of the terrible track record it has around the world and its people like this Chad Selweski guy who help defend it even in the face of failure.  To more thoroughly answer his question about the beer company making fun of Trump, what they are doing is precisely what Canada always does—they are second-handers to American culture and in this case are using the Trump name to attempt to sell a few extra cans of beer to the largely socialist audience of their visitors and residents.  They aren’t being clever—they are just using the name of a successful person who happens to be picked on in the American media because he’s a capitalist.  That beer company was hoping that they’d get some free publicity from loser media groups like WLW radio to advertise for them subtle messages that go against Trump.  Not particularly clever free market advertising.  Just parasitic—like the overall culture of Canada.

These guys in the media—from WLW radio to this Chad Selweski cape rider want in American politics the type of people who screwed everything up—and Trump is a departure from the world they helped create—and they don’t like it.  I can understand that, but here’s the deal.  We’re not going back to the Peter Jennings world where George Will defined conservatism—or the equal value of Canadian politics on the North American continent.  Their economy only produces 1.7 trillion dollars so they are hardly masters of the universe when it comes to politics or philosophy.  Nobody should be taking any lessons on how to run a country from them.  I worked in the Tea Party movement for nearly a decade now and I have watched the political trajectory culminate into Donald Trump being in the White House and I’m here to tell all these “centrists” who eye socialism with compassion—America has a taste now of what a capitalist loving nation can do for them—and they aren’t turning away and returning to the world of moderation and mixed economies.

The best thing that Trump has done in his first 100 days since the media is so excited to report all the things he hasn’t been able to get done, like healthcare reform, or tax reform—and all the big-ticket items that small-minded people key on who don’t understand the big picture—was deregulation.  Trump has the Keystone Pipeline moving forward. He has cut back on the EPA.  He has an AG who is cutting down on illegal border crossings and he has encouraged trillions of dollars of investment to come back into the United States and that money is going to work in the American economy as I write this.  In just a few months Trump with just his name has put more money into our stock market than Canada produces annually over a three-year period of time.  And we’re just getting started.  By the time there’s another election the political landscape will be much different.  We’re not going backwards.

Trump isn’t the cause of the political shift, he’s the result.  The cause could be seen in the rallies way back in 2009 when people like this Chad Selweski guy were calling Tea Party people “Tea Baggers” hoping to shame people into holding that “centrists” line, where Canada, Mexico and the United States could all sit at a table as equals and contemplate the direction of the human race.  Two socialists and a capitalist do not all get equal consideration under the banner of philosophic contemplation—because results are what matter—not theoretical Marxist commitment when we all know what the end results are.  Trump can come and go, but the movement toward an unapologetic capitalist American society goes all the way back to the last days of George W. Bush when he gave up on the free market to put down the clamps which eventually caused the crash of 2008.  Many of us were ready to try something new back then and because of his skin color, Barack Obama got a chance and what he brought to America was European style socialism and that was like throwing gas on the bon fire.  Trump put his name in the ring and we voted for him—and in the future, it might be him or someone else—but we’re not going back.

The Canadians can make fun of America with their stupid beer cans, and our American media can disparage Trump yearning for those good ol’ days where they understood our political landscape and felt they could control it.  But the reality is what we are dealing with here—socialism doesn’t work, and America is about to pull ahead of the rest of the world economically showing everyone that they should have been more committed to capitalism than they were.  And people like Chad Selweski will find freelancing much more difficult because his “centrist position” just became the extreme radical leftist fringe again—the way it used to be in America.  People are now more open in their opinions and those old George Bush Republicans (pick either Bush president—it doesn’t really matter) are no longer going to be tolerated.

It’s now a numbers game—the old Tea Party types will fight it out for philosophic supremacy as the political left gets lost in the dust as the world changes under their feet.  That will happen because poor countries like Mexico, Canada and all of Europe are no longer equal players in global politics.  Because Trump has taken all the oxygen in the room—and that’s the way we want it in an “America First” world.  The Canadians can make fun of it—but it’s because they are the losers lost in the wake—not the superior economic contributor which WLW tried to pawn off on their audience of half-wits waiting for the next Cincinnati Reds baseball game to come on the air.  Personally, I care about as much about what the Canadians think of America as I do piss in a toilet.  A simple flush takes it all away.

Trains in West Chester: The magic and exuberance of a thriving economy

For the second time in my life I had the strange privilege to gain the viewpoint of foreign visitors and their intense interests in American trains.  In America, we take the length of our trains for granted as most of the rest of the world, particularly Europe and the East do not have they type of freight trains that we do in the United States.  But I remember the magic of when my future son-in-law visited over a decade ago how he thought the length of our trains were simply amazing which surprised me because I took them more as a nuisance that was in my way when I wanted to cross a road.  Then over this past week I had visitors from Japan and we were in a new office space that overlooked a very active railroad line that moved through West Chester, Ohio and they were simply amazed by the length and frequency of the trains.  We were working on some very important things, but I had the seating in such a way that they were able to look out the windows, so they had a prime seat for several hours of the day to see how many trains moved along that track in both a north and south direction.

I noticed that they seemed very interested in what was going on outside the window which made me wonder if I had the seating arrangements correct—and after a few days of this they simply asked me how long those trains were.  My reply was that most of them looked to be a mile long—or 1.6 kilometers as they understand it.  Some of the trains were longer clearly.  This information was simply stunning to these guys who spend a lot of time in places like Tokyo and London—even France. The length of American trains told them a lot about our culture and it was worth taking a moment to consider.

I’ve always loved trains—and like a lot of old men who have train sets in their basements, and like to visit the popular tourist destination in West Chester—Entertrainment Junction which features some of the largest model trains in the world—trains have an essence of optimism about them that largely goes unexplored.  We love them, but often don’t understand why.  After visiting Europe recently with this topic fresh on my mind I have some unique thoughts on the matter which might unlock better our understanding of this condition.  From my vantage point in both Japan and England I admired their train systems which was mostly regulated to passenger transportation.  People needed to get someplace fast so they took the train and it worked pretty well.  I was impressed with the complex way the trains ran in England particularly around London.  However, what was missing was the way that trains are used in the United States—you don’t often see the magic of an American train any place else even in places that are supposed to be the most popular and largest cities in the world.

Over the last year I had some very nice lunches in both Tokyo and London over looking their train systems and neither was as impressive as that display in this new office space where I had these Japanese guests.  After all, it was a fabulous spring day on this occasion where my guests were so enamored with the trains going by my window—so we brought in some good ol’ American pizza from Donatos and you’d think I took these people to a 5 star restaurant.  One of these guys had said that during this business trip they wanted to try some authentic American pizza—so you can image the elation that was experienced with a stack of five different pizzas with all different toppings sitting there being enjoyed while watching three, mile long trains all traveling south by our window while having lunch with a brilliant sun pouring in making us enjoy life that much more.  Just a bit beyond the train tracks was the endless energy of the American highway system which was unique also in the world.  Our big cars and trucks pouring endlessly by all day and night was another thing unique to American culture and we sat for about an hour eating our pizza and talking about trains and trucks in a way that impressed me with its philosophic content.

Japan for a small island economy produces about 4.4.trillion dollars a year which is impressive. To achieve that their people work very hard and intensely 365 days a year—you can feel the energy when you land there.  The people are vigorous, industrious, and extremely well-mannered and it shows in what they make.  And England where London is certainly one of the most important financial centers in the world produces somewhere between 2.2 to 3 trillion dollars if you count all the coins in your pockets on a rainy day—to be generous.  You can feel the energy there too—but in both cases, you can tell something is missing from an American perspective.  I knew what it was as I poured garlic sauce all over my nice juicy pizza watching the traffic under that morning spring sun in Ohio—and my guests were getting the gist of it too.  The American economy produces an astonishing 18.5 trillion dollars over a larger land mass, but the effect was clear by counting the trains and trucks up on I-75 going by then multiplying that over the land mass then dividing it by the hours of the day.  What we were looking at was a vibrant economy which was a product of mankind in all its glorious creativity emerging unencumbered by the powerful locomotives pulling freight from the north to destinations in the south.

The trains were a large part of that 18 trillion-dollar economy as some of the cars were double stacked and loaded with product headed toward distribution centers awaiting shipment.  China has a nominal GDP of 11.3 trillion although they have a PPP projection of over 23 trillion this year which equates out to $11-15,000 per pupil.  All that sounds impressive until you consider that they have over 1 billion people and in the United States our per pupil capita is roughly $53,000—quite a bit higher and that’s with 7 million people still unemployed as of this writing.  What we could see from our vantage point looking at trains and highway traffic was a very efficient and productive country making a lot of money and our big trains were a tremendous part of that.  Even the big tractor trailers cruising by down the highways couldn’t move the sheer volume of product that was chugging along by our train system.  And none of us said it at the time, but the American economy has been stagnant for a long time functioning at only a fraction of its potential due to the weaknesses of several decades of American presidents and destructive politics seeking to duplicate Europe instead of continue on with the polices that built America in the first place.

The trains didn’t just represent massive power by the large diesel engines which propelled them—they were aspects of a very powerful economy and contained within them many hopes and dreams which spill over into the enthusiasm that old men who build train sets in their basements share with their grandchildren. It was the length and frequency of those trains that caught the attention of my guests.  It’s one thing to read about the powerful American economy in a trade publication, or to watch a news story about it on television—it’s quite another to see it up close and personal and to see those trains going by our window was to confirm the majestic nature of American capitalism and the land of abundance that it produces.  That’s exactly why we love our trains and they continue to hold a special place in our hearts.  Trains are vital arteries of American capitalism and they continue to be impressive as the world watches jealously at how we took a relatively small country and made it into such an economy powerhouse.  Many can hope through colleges and other liberal institutions to hide just how powerful the American economy is—but when they see our trains—they can’t escape the reality of it.  Trains in America isn’t so much about taking people from one place to another—but in taking big things to large markets for income producing utilization and that is their specific purpose which is truly unique in the world.  And that is a truly majestic concept worthy of all the imagination ushered forth by our human race.

Rich Hoffman

 CLIFFHANGER RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

Sign up for Second Call Defense here:  http://www.secondcalldefense.org/?affiliate=20707  Use my name to get added benefits.

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‘Star Wars’ Land Updates: Toy guns and realistic play contribute greatly to a healthy, and sane life

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I know there are a lot of big things going on in the world, but from my perspective, some of the most important are happening in Orlando, Florida with the Star Wars Celebration.  The reason is that one of my favorite topic is human cultures, their influences, and how they vary from region to region and I see Star Wars as one of the greatest positive contributors to the future of our human race, psychologically, philosophically, religiously, and scientifically.  It’s a fun topic but under it all I see the potential for tremendous opportunities in the future.  And as we celebrated Easter at my house and I went out to Target and bought up a bunch of Star Wars Nerf guns for the kids to play with on a really nice Sunday in Ohio I watched the footage of the Imagineers at Disney World conducting their Galaxy in the Making update on their two Star Wars themed worlds to be opened in Orlando and Anaheim during 2019.   Check out what they have in store.

I love guns—everything from my favorite .500 Smith & Wesson Magnum to the Star Wars Nerf guns.  My mom bought me for the fun of it a little Cassian Andor Nerf pistol which I wrote about during the Christmas of 2016 because I was deeply impressed with it.  When I was a kid, I loved the Star Wars guns, but they didn’t shoot anything.  That didn’t stop my brother and I from playing war all the time.  There were several years of my youth that playing war with the kids who lived near me was my favorite thing to do and if I had the guns that kids today can buy at Target and Wal-Mart I would literally have been in Heaven.  Star Wars for me was always about gunfights and being able to play some of those gunfights in real life which was just great.  Knowing all the kids were coming over for Easter I stopped by Target to buy their specific Cassian Andor sniper rifle which is just something special.  It has a clip that holds 12 shots which can be fired as fast as you can pull the trigger.  The trigger pull activates a cool little internal light that charges up your glow in the dark Nerf darts and they come out of the gun’s barrel looking like tracer fire.  The gun fires off compressed air generated by a fan which takes away some of the mechanical aspects that might complicate a real AR-15.  The gun operates much better than I would have guessed.  We had a lot of fun with that gun after our Easter Egg hunt.  I now have a nice collection of these Nerf guns and am a real fan.

But the guns and other toys available to kids these days are just part of the Star Wars experience.  The fun is in being able to play in real life what you mythologically experience through the movies.  And as I’ve said, these days the options are much better than what I had when I was a kid.  For instance, my favorite toy when I was a child was my Han Solo “Empire Strikes Back” version blaster which made a whine sound when you pulled the trigger.  The gun itself wasn’t very impressive because it just made a noise—and not a very good noise at that.  But we’re talking 1980 when I had that gun, yet what it symbolized to me was very special.  However, I just bought the Han Solo Nerf Blaster from the Force Awakens and it is very impressive.  These new Nerf guns not only make great blaster noises that sound like what they do in the movies, but they really shoot.  To get both functions to happen seamlessly is part of the magic of these new toys.  What they are talking about doing down in Orlando at Disney World is something that is certainly next step exciting.  If blasters and games from Star Wars are enhancing the kind of imaginative activities that take place at home—those big theme parks have to go well beyond what the movies can offer, and that’s what they are going to do with Star Wars at Hollywood Studios and Disneyland at Anaheim.

When I first started talking about these new Star Wars Lands at the Disney Parks I was very excited about this because as I said then, many new scientists and philosophers will have their imaginations explode in those places.  Yet, what they are doing with Star Wars Land is far beyond what even I imagined. They are going for a full experience here and that’s a game changer for all amusement parks.  The Disney and Lucasfilm employees in charge of this project are really bringing us the future in every category and the results will be jaw dropping.  We’re talking about full scale spaceships like the Millennium Falcon sitting around that people can see and touch. Imperial Walkers in full scale excitement—a new lightsaber technology that will be patented and developed for Disney World—this is very exciting.  Imagination is now merging with real science to tell stories which evoke leaps in further technological develop which we will eventually find in our daily lives.  Ideas are born in such places and that’s what makes them important for discussion.  The people attending the Star Wars Celebration in Orlando are movie geeks.  But the product of their enthusiasm eventually advances our culture because they spend a lot of money on Star Wars products and Disney reinvests that money in new ways to keep them coming back.  But in the process, they all unlock the human potential available to our species, and that is a beautiful thing.

I know a lot of people.  Some of them are big shots in the world—and some of them run comic book stores and spend all their time escaping in fantasy environments.  I’m not some dude living on a mountaintop in the Rocky Mountains who is out of touch with reality—quite the opposite, and honestly I am probably one of the sanest people alive in the world.  My mental health is excellent.  I can’t imagine anybody being healthier than me and I became that way playing with guns all of my life.  And my first experience with guns came from Star Wars.  Later it came from the great westerns of our movie culture—which eventually migrated into what Star Wars became.  Just like our first five years of life where all we do is play, adults do best when they continue playing well into their mature years—because that’s how we learn as people.  And what Disney is doing at their theme parks with Star Wars is a chance to make play a part of our lives in ways never done before.   And there is nothing wrong with that.

Sure Star Wars is about war, and guns, and people dying.  But it’s about ideas and optimism too and moving beyond the things that scare us.  Guns are the first step in that journey because once you learn to master them, you learn not to be afraid and new ideas can then come to your life.  So the toy guns, the light sabers and confronting villains is a part of our life within Star Wars and making it more real only makes the myth making that much more powerful.  The more playing we do in this realm of overcoming our fears—the better we all are and that is precisely what Disney is creating at its theme parks and I think it’s just riveting.  I am very much looking forward to the new Star Wars Land opening up.  But in the meantime, I think I’ll enjoy the Nerf guns and play Star Wars with my grandchildren as much as possible!

Rich Hoffman

 CLIFFHANGER RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

Sign up for Second Call Defense here:  http://www.secondcalldefense.org/?affiliate=20707  Use my name to get added benefits.

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Beating the Drums of War: Time to take North Korea away from the stupid fat kid

Obviously I’m not a dope smoking libertarian who wants the United States to be a live and let live Constitutional Republic which allows for the legalization of pot and ignores threats around the world hoping everyone just behaves. While I like the Constitutional Republic part I am an expansionist—I think the world would be a lot happier if they’d just become another state in the United States.  They can keep their integrity and culture so long as the pledge allegiance to our flag.  The world is simply too small now to allow lunatics of theocracy like Iran, North Korea, and Syria to host tyrannical dictators.  I knew what I was getting with Donald Trump and he’s doing exactly what I wanted him to do—flexing the muscle of American military around the world fixing the numerous problems that 28 years of weak American presidents let brew out of control.  I understand that the only way to get to the kind of prosperity America enjoyed in the past is to be the top dog on the world stage—and we should be.  We are the best country with the best ideas and we are open to sharing those ideas with places not so fortunate.  But the bad guys need to be taken out-of-the-way.

I’ve written and written, and written about the effects of Socialist International around the world and how dominate it is really everywhere.  Russia has a former KGB agent from their communist days as their president and China is an all out communist nation.  Europe is all diseased with socialism and all the poor countries of Indochina are rotten with communism.  Stop by Cambodia sometime and walk the streets and 12-year-old girls will throw themselves at your feet offering sex because that’s the only way they can make enough money to eat.  The same in Kenya, Vietnam and the east European nations still trying to develop economies after the collapse of Russia—the world is unstable and many people are suffering for it.  So the grim reality is that nobody in the world is a reliable trading partner with the United States until these problems are solved.  The biggest difference with Trump is that he’s not in love with United Nations group hugs approach.  He’s fine to let NATO and the UN ride on America’s back as long as they shut up and do what he says.  The minute they don’t, they lose their United States funding and they’ll drown with the rest of Europe.  That is the Trump message to the world and as my representative, that’s what I sent him to Washington to do, along with about a 1000 other little things.

America can’t have peace so long as North Korea and many other countries empowered by the 20th Century failed experiments of social engineering remain alive—and that means cleaning up on all the unresolved issues started by past American presidents and getting back to polices that put North America the center of the world, not Brussels.  Since the Korean War ended in 1953 North Korea has been a pain in the neck and the excuse of many United States presidents to have reasons to have military spending as a cover story for their other failures.  And now there is this fat kid who runs the country like a spoiled brat teenager who was given a Lamborghini by his dying dad and he has nuclear warheads which can threaten United States partners in South Korea and Japan.  For the uneducated in the ways of geography, South Korea makes Samsung phones and televisions as well as Kia cars. So right now, they are a very important partner in the United States economy, so we do have a major interest in the area.  Then of course there is Japan who we fought in World War II, and beat.  We took away their weapons and now they are completely dependent on United States protection to produce one of the most powerful economies in the world—so we gave ourselves the responsibility to protect them from China and North Korea both of which have been making moves against that tiny little island in Pacific Ocean.  The American general Claire Lee Chennault warned what would happen if America left the region after World War II and our stupid government allowed communism to spread into China, the Korean peninsula and down into Indochina.  That pulled us into two major wars and essentially a half century stalemate which needs to be broken before there will ever be peace in the region.

This mess extends right in front of the Himalaya Mountains across the impoverished continent of India and into the chaos of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran which then borders Iraq and Syria. The average dope smoking American anti-war pacifist couldn’t find any of those countries on a map, so they have no idea what the dangers are in leaving those places free to produce dictators and theocratic nightmares.  There is a tremendous economic cost to the United States in addition to the moral cost of turning away and letting millions of people rot or rush American borders so they can try to escape.  Melania Trump happens to be one of those East Europeans who were lucky to have perfect super model features, like long legs, the proper height and facial features to be a top model in Paris.  If she had been two inches shorter she would have had to be a prostitute of some kind to escape the poverty of her native country in Slovenia.  People who don’t travel much and see the world for what it is who preach legalization of pot and think they can play video games through life leaving everyone alone, have no idea how bad things are out there beyond the borders of the United States.  And open border progressives love all this chaos because they want refugees of the wars they have caused to over burden our American capitalist system and to change it from the inside out.  Just listen to the average American college professor who preaches to our youth to hate those “rich white guys” so that the displaced refugees will flee to America and replace freedom with the only thing they’ve ever known, domination by dictators and failed economic opportunities.

So I say to hell with North Korea.  Let them send their “pre-emptive” strike. Because I’m tired of hearing about them—it’s time to call the bluff of that ruling family.  The solutions have always been there in these hostile countries—we just didn’t have the political will to do anything about it.  But now we do and the world needs to see what will happen to North Korea.  Let them try to fire a missile at the VP in South Korea or at any of the American Navy vessel parked in the waters off North Korea—and the THAAD system that is now in place will shoot them down and that fat kid running things will learn a hard lesson.  Trump can take that victory and negotiate all kinds of good stuff with China and Russia for the first time in over two hundred years of American foreign policy, which is exactly why I supported and voted for Donald Trump for president—to end these problems instead of just letting them simmer from one generation to another.

The best way to put America first is to defend American ideas around the world and to stand up to the bullies who want to end it everywhere.  The human race has to make a decision—will it be freedom or tyranny, because the world is too small to have both.  The world must pick—and they have to do it now.  Smoking another joint and listening to old Led Zepplin songs won’t solve the problem—instead, America must have peace through superior firepower and let bad guys know it when they step out of line.  That’s the way it has to be for a while until all those untied disputes are finally settled.  And based on Trump’s performance as Commander and Chief—it won’t take long.

Rich Hoffman

 CLIFFHANGER RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

Sign up for Second Call Defense here:  http://www.secondcalldefense.org/?affiliate=20707  Use my name to get added benefits.

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Bomb the Towels Right off the ISIS Heads: The joy of getting a bag of chips out of a vending machine

It continues to be a topic of fascination how the world of politics deals with Donald Trump. They are just bewildered by him, one minute he’s for dismantling NATO.  The next he’s for it.  One minute he’s anti-China—the next he’s shaking hands—palm up with the communist leader and talking about trade.  Then there are the accusations of a “bromance” with Vladimir Putin—then the hammers of war being beaten in the direction of Russia. The people in politics and those who cover it are literally about to explode with frustration because they don’t understand what Donald Trump is doing.  But I do.

It’s a long story but today marked something of a personal milestone in achievement. I bought a bag of potato chips out of the new vending machines of a beautiful new manufacturing facility that I along with many other people breathed to life.  Whenever I do something like that I like to do little things like enjoy a bag of potato chips from there because it tastes very sweet due to all the effort it takes to get such a monumental task accomplished.  The road to get to where you actually put vending machines into such a place is a long one, and many pitfalls and challenges have to be navigated, so once you get the vending machines installed, you always achieve something tremendous.  But to get there you are constantly negotiating with other people, you are always employing some kind of strategy, you are always fighting something—because you have to remember that the world of government looks down on achievement—so you are always fighting various aspects of government corruption to do anything productive.  It could be zoning, unfriendly socialist trustees such as in the township where I bought the aforementioned potato chips.  There are three trustees there.  George Lang is a good one.  Mark Welch is another one.  But then they have a socialist who is always trying to build some sidewalk with tax payer funds, or yacking about his military record in the same breath as declaring himself a minority candidate.  He doesn’t understand business at all, so lucky for West Chester, there are two votes against that guy so business can happen.  But not every place is so lucky.  Many places around the world, especially in California, Seattle and other progressive areas, the good guys get outvoted by the bad guys (the anti-business people) most of the time.  So it is always a good feeling to get to a point where you can buy a bag of chips out of a vending machine because it’s nearly a miracle these days to get to that point.

But the administration part is only the beginning, there are deals that are constantly being made with other human beings to move a project along, and for someone like Donald Trump who has operated most of his life as a high-end developer, the chance to buy a bag of chips out of a vending machine is a very tall road to climb—indeed. The kind of person that does these types of things has to be unique because often it’s the thrill of accomplishment that drives such people—not necessarily the payday.  And for a person to master those skills means they can operate at many human levels of communication and are masters of negotiation, manipulation, and strategy.  Donald Trump is certainly all those things and I think he will be viewed by history as the unquestionably best president we’ve ever had in America because what he will produce during his time in office will be something that is rare.

You have to understand dear reader that for most of human history mankind didn’t have much of an economy that was driven off free market ideas. Always there was some king or emperor in the way skimming off the top of any national endeavor—and this effectively put the shackles on human production because people just don’t do much unless they are free.  They may work in the fields all day to pick rice, but they don’t think of better ways to pick that rice unless they can have the opportunity to get rich off it.  So without the free market system—innovation just doesn’t happen.  People don’t invent better ways to do things so some ruler can take their idea and live well off it.  If there isn’t some concept of reward, human beings keep their thoughts to themselves which is why socialist societies just don’t make it very long.

Now for complex economies where many people are pushing and shoving other people for a chance to win big, things get very complicated. In order to navigate any project where many such people are a part of your success you have to learn how to read everything about them to get some leverage that is mutually advantageous.  I say that because if you screw people over you may win once, but they won’t deal with you in the future.  So you must learn to read every non-verbal sign of body language, every variability of sentence structure, every hidden motive to learn how to move people to where you need them to be—where they also come out smelling wonderful.  And that is hard.  Very hard.

This is what we might call a “dynamic personality.” They tend to see things well ahead of other people, and are also personally courageous—perhaps to the point where they are thrill junkies who thrive off great risks.  Without them invention and economic expansion doesn’t happen.  Most people in the world are very static.  They learn the routines of their days starting with their very first experiences as human beings and once they level off in adulthood they are quite comfortable taking orders and falling in behind the leaders of society because it allows them to live within a framework of routine that is comfortable.  They don’t like risky behavior because it might make them late for dinner—that kind of thing.

Politics is built around static people—very predictable and having their roots back to aristocratic days when clear social levels could mandate what kind of home you lived in, what types of sexual encounters you might experience, and what the fate of your children might be. But when you introduce dynamic people suddenly the lives of the static people are always in jeopardy—because they don’t like change and dynamic people are all about change.  For many centuries, political people have prevented dynamic people from holding offices.  They allowed them to somewhat thrive in business so long as they could tax and control them through some legal means—but they didn’t allow them into politics. That makes Donald Trump the first of his kind to break through that invisible barrier for the long-span of the human race—and this dynamic has made the static order very uncomfortable.

That is why Trump’s negotiation skills are so frustrating to the static order of today’s politics—because the sheer dynamism of Trump threatens the future of the entire political system. As a businessman, Trump may want China to put an end to North Korea’s threats while closing the gap between the trading deficit.  So he does what he needs to in order to achieve that objective.  He may need to threaten war, or he may offer a bottle of wine—whatever is needed at that moment.  To the static political culture used to predictability—in fact their entire existence depends on it—this is a nightmare.  But for Americans in need of an American renaissance—its precisely what is required.  Just today Trump dropped a massive bomb on an ISIS hideout in Afghanistan.  Guess he wasn’t joking about ending ISIS—and the capital earned off that bombing will help with Russian deals, Chinese negotiations over territory and trade, and stop the butchering of innocent people in Syria.  In the end, everyone will get what they want because that’s what deal makers do.  And that really is the only way you can get to a bag of chips in a vending machine—you have to navigate very complicated engagements to arrive at such an opportunity. With that in mind, for the first time in the history of the world such a person is running things on the political levels, and the dynamism of that reality is shattering the static world of politics—likely forever.  And that is such a wonderful thing.

Rich Hoffman

CLIFFHANGER RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

Sign up for Second Call Defense here: http://www.secondcalldefense.org/?affiliate=20707 Use my name to get added benefits.