The Competent Carly Fiorina: Meet the woman who shut up Chris Mathews

I liked Carly Fiorina before the Fox News debates, but often thought she was too soft and repetitive on her position against Hillary Clinton. She did predictably well in the debates, which I was impressed with. She’s definitely a woman I could get behind for president. I like her a lot. But I wasn’t sure she was aggressive enough to be president until I saw her handle Chris Mathews after the debate, in an interview where he tried to peg her down with specifics. She not only provided specifics, she actually did it so well that Mathews conceded to her as time ran out. It was a very impressive exchange respectfully done, but most importantly, effectively implemented.

Cara CarletonCarlyFiorina (née Sneed; September 6, 1954) is a former business executive, and current Chair of the non-profit philanthropic organization Good360.[2] Starting in 1980, Fiorina rose through the ranks to become an executive at AT&T and its equipment and technology spinoff, Lucent. As chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard (HP) from 1999 to 2005, she was the first woman to lead one of the top twenty U.S. companies.[3]

In 2002, Fiorina undertook the biggest high-tech merger in history, with rival computer company Compaq, which made HP the world’s largest personal computer manufacturer.[4][5] Following HP’s gain in market share as a result of the merger, Fiorina laid off thousands of US employees. However, [6][7] by the end of 2005, the merged company had more employees worldwide than both companies together had before the merger.[8] As of February 9, 2005 HP stock had lost more than half its value, while the overall NASDAQ index had fallen 26 percent owing to turbulence in the tech sector.[9][10][11] On that date, the HP board of directors forced Fiorina to resign as chief executive officer and chairman.[12][13]

After HP, Fiorina served on the boards of several organizations and as an adviser to Republican John McCain‘s 2008 presidential campaign. She won a three-person race for the Republican nomination for the United States Senate from California in 2010, but lost the general election to incumbent Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer.[14]

In 1980, Fiorina joined AT&T as a management trainee and rose to become a senior vice president overseeing the company’s hardware and systems division.[25]

In 1995, Fiorina led corporate operations for the spinoff from AT&T of Lucent, reporting to Lucent chief executive Henry B. Schacht.[26] She played a key role in planning and implementing the 1996 initial public offering of stock and company launch strategy.[27][28] Later in 1996, Fiorina was appointed president of Lucent’s consumer products business, reporting to Rich McGinn, president and chief operating officer.[28] In 1997, she was appointed chair of Lucent’s consumer communications joint venture with Philips, Philips Consumer Communications.[29] It was dissolved a year later after garnering only a 2% market share in mobile phones and losing $500 million on a revenue of $2.5 billion.[30] Also in 1997, she was named group president for the global service provider business at Lucent, overseeing marketing and sales for the company’s largest customer segment.[31]

During her time at AT&T, Lucent, and afterward, Fiorina was regarded by many as being the first woman to head up a Fortune 20 company, and to have overcome the metaphorical “glass ceiling“.[32][33][34]

Hewlett-Packard (HP)

In July 1999, Hewlett-Packard Company named Fiorina chief executive officer, succeeding Lewis Platt and prevailing over the internal candidate Ann Livermore.[35] Fiorina received a larger signing offer than any of her predecessors, including: $65 million in stock, a $3 million signing bonus, a $1 million annual salary (plus a $1.25–3.75 million annual bonus), $36,000 in mortgage assistance, a relocation allowance, and permission (and encouragement) to use company planes for personal affairs.[36] She became the first woman to lead a Fortune 20 company.[3] Fiorina immediately became a highly visible chief executive and remained so throughout her tenure at the company.[37]

Fiorina proceeded to reorganize HP and merge the part she kept with PC maker Compaq.[37] Although the decision to spin off the company’s technical equipment division predated her arrival, one of her first major responsibilities as chief executive was overseeing the separation of the unit into the standalone Agilent Technologies.[38] Fiorina proposed the acquisition of the technology services arm of PricewaterhouseCoopers for almost $14 billion, but withdrew the bid after a lackluster reception from Wall Street.[39] Following the collapse of the dot-com bubble, the PwC consulting arm was acquired by IBM for less than $4 billion.[40] Fiorina instituted three major changes to HP’s culture shortly after her arrival: a shift from nurturing employees to demanding financial performance, replacing profit sharing with bonuses awarded if the company met financial expectations, and a reduction in operating units from 83 to 4.[36]

In early September 2001, in the wake of the bursting of the Tech Bubble, Fiorina announced the merger with Compaq, a leading competitor in the industry. Fiorina fought for the merger, and it was implemented despite strong opposition from board member Walter Hewlett (the son of company co-founder William Hewlett) and 49% opposition among HP’s shareholders.[41][42] Hewlett launched a proxy fight against Fiorina’s efforts, which failed.[43] The Compaq merger[44] created the world’s largest personal computer manufacturer by units shipped.[45][46]

Fiorina presented herself as a realist regarding the effects of globalization. She was a strong proponent, along with other technology executives, of the expansion of the H-1B visa program.[47][48][49][50] Fiorina responded against protectionism in an editorial in the Wall Street Journal, writing that while “America is the most innovative country,” it would not remain so if the country were to “run away from the reality of the global economy.”[51] Fiorina said to Congress in 2004: “There is no job that is America’s God-given right anymore. We have to compete for jobs as a nation.”[48] While Fiorina argued that the only way to “protect U.S. high-tech jobs over the long haul was to become more competitive [in the United States],” her comments prompted “strong reactions” from some technology workers who argued that lower wages outside the United States encouraged the offshoring of American jobs.[52] In the US, 30,000 HP employees were laid off during Fiorina’s tenure.[6][53] In 2004, HP fell dramatically short of its predicted third-quarter earnings, and Fiorina fired three executives during a 5 AM telephone call.[36]

Fiorina frequently clashed with HP’s board of directors,[36][42] and she faced backlash among HP employees and the tech community for her leading role in the demise of HP’s egalitarian “The HP Way” work culture and guiding philosophy,[36][42][54] which she felt hindered innovation.[36][55] Because of changes to HP’s culture, and requests for voluntary pay cuts to prevent layoffs (subsequently followed by the largest layoffs in HP’s history), employee satisfaction surveys at HP—previously among the highest in America—revealed “widespread unhappiness” and distrust,[36][56] and Fiorina was sometimes booed at company meetings and attacked on HP’s electronic bulletin board.[36]

During Fiorina’s time as CEO, HP’s revenue doubled due to mergers with Compaq and other companies,[57][58] and the rate of patent filings increased.[58] According to reports, however, the company underperformed by a number of metrics: there were no gains in HP’s net income despite a 70% gain in net income of the S&P 500 over this period;[57] the company’s debt rose from ~4.25 billion USD to ~6.75 billion USD;[57] and stock price fell by 50%, exceeding declines in the S&P 500 Information Technology Sector index and the NASDAQ.[57][59] In contrast, stock prices for IBM and Dell fell 27.5% and 3% respectively, during this time period.[59]

Resignation from Hewlett-Packard

In early January 2005, the Hewlett-Packard board of directors discussed with Fiorina a list of issues that the board had regarding the company’s performance.[60] The board proposed a plan to shift her authority to HP division heads, which Fiorina resisted.[61] A week after the meeting, the confidential plan was leaked to the Wall Street Journal.[62] Less than a month later, the board brought back Tom Perkins and forced Fiorina to resign as chair and chief executive officer of the company.[63] The company’s stock jumped on news of her departure, adding almost three billion dollars to the value of HP in a single day.[64][65] Many employees celebrated her resignation.[36] Under the company’s agreement with Fiorina, which was characterized as a golden parachute by TIME magazine,[66] and Yahoo!,[67] it was reported she had been paid slightly more than $20 million in severance.[68]

I noticed that Donald Trump did not go after her in the way he might otherwise—before the whole Megan Kelly thing erupted. I’d guess that is because he is looking at her as a running mate, which would be the best of both worlds. Trump understands the showbiz side of politics, which shouldn’t be the case, but is a brutal reality of any campaign. The left doesn’t play by the rules, and Republicans continue to lose because they don’t understand the theatrics well enough about how the left beats them. Trump is destroying that political model as we speak—which I am very happy about. Carly is a more traditional manager, and ultimately is more of what we’d all like to expect out of a President in the White House. But I really think she, and all the other candidates as well, need Donald Trump to reset the political field on both sides with his bombastic behavior. The political process needs Donald Trump, but I am very happy to see candidates in the field like Carly Fiorina emerging so strongly. She is a wonderful breath of fresh air.

Rich Hoffman


Listen to The Blaze Radio Network by CLICKING HERE.

Gery Deer on the Clarkcast: America’s real Bronco Billy

For the second weekend in a row I will be hosting Matt Clark’s radio show on Saturday, June 20th, 2015 at 1 PM. The topic this week will be a discussion of traditional Western Arts and a sneak peek at this year’s Annie Oakley event put on by Gery Deer. At the bottom of the hour I will have Gery on to talk about the classic event in Greenville, Ohio and tell stories from years past. It is a topic that is dear to me. It will also be a different kind of show from the typical AM radio discussion that often circulates around politics. Western Arts to me transcend politics and are part of our American heritage which should be preserved at all cost. Click the video below to see a summation of the 2014 Annie Oakley event.

July often resets my American patriotism each year starting with the Fourth of July and ending with the Annie Oakley event which takes place in Darke County, Ohio on the last weekend of every July—celebrating the old western performer’s birthday in Greenville. I get more out of the event than I put into it—whereas people like Gery make it all happen. I show up and participate in the bullwhip contests, but most of the time I watch the performances of the other participants with genuine glee, because most of them make their livings as actual western art performers.

One of my favorite films from the past is Clint Eastwood’s Bronco Billy where he plays a nearly always broke western performer. I used to watch that movie and admire that character as a pure American creation. A part of me always wanted to live that life—and if I didn’t have children and a wife that I was responsible to, I might have done just such a thing—roaming from town to town performing western arts for a sleepy America in hopes of igniting in just a few youth here and there the wonders of freedom and western expansion from a historical perspective.

Gery Deer is the closest person I’ve ever met to a real life Bronco Billy. He has a background that is white-collar; he’s a writer, a television producer, a computer technician, a college graduate well versed and quite comfortable in professional settings. He’s been on America’s Got Talent and done films as a material supplier for projects like The Rundown. He also runs the only bullwhip studio in America from his home where he teaches the art form to students. He’s also a bit of a geek, and attends sci-fi conventions with boyish enthusiasm. But at his core he’s a western performer and vaudeville musician.   His band the Brothers and Company performs most weekends of the year and is a throwback to yesteryear with their compositions. He’s a very unique person who fits best in a motion picture screen rather than real life.

Gery could be a grotesquely rich man if he wanted to be, but he’s too authentic to be. He will steer his material a bit to fit the regulations of the industry as he does for television. He stays away from controversy so that he always has options, but to his core, he’s a very solid family man and an advocate of old-fashioned entertainment. He’s as old school as there is in entertainment. He will bend, but he never breaks and has been that way for the entire decade that I’ve known him.

It is a pleasure to bring people like this to the surface who work in the cracks of life to a broadcast audience like those at WAAM. Even though Gery is clearly a successful person, he is slightly out-of-step with mainstream entertainment, which is decidedly how Clint Eastwood was in Bronco Billy. Both characters possess the tools to be as successful as they want to be, but are stubborn in their adherence to classic American art. This makes Gery always a bit of a “where’s Waldo” type in a busy society. When he is hired for a show, it’s for his skill, his depreciating humor, but more than anything, the classic vaudeville style he still brings to Americana. His best friends are bullwhip artists, sadomasochists who live in the back of their vans 12 months out of the year and eat based on their latest job in every back hole-venue they can come up with. He is close friends with Hollywood stuntmen, sword swallowers, magicians, and knife throwers—and at the same time every television media personality in the Dayton region.

So it will be an interesting hour of radio to an audience who hasn’t had an opportunity to meet people like this in their day-to-day lives. Radio is a perfect venue to place such a unique personality into the public. I have the fortune to know a great number of very unique personalities. It comes from my lifestyle, and I truly wish I had time to nurture them all along. As it stands, I don’t have a lot of time for people in general. I make time when I can, but most people I enjoy most only get time with me a few times a year. And they understand because they are all equally diversified. Matt Clark of course is one of those people and I am glad he is fulfilling the parameters of his secret mission/honeymoon—and that I have the opportunity to cover for his show and bring some color to the AM landscape. For the radio listener there needs to be something unique they are getting from the experience—something they couldn’t get otherwise, and Gery is certainly one of those people.

Be sure to tune this weekend to the live show. Of course I’ll have the actual pod cast up at Overmanwarrior’s Wisdom, but there is nothing like live radio—not knowing what is coming next. I’m going to preface Gery by talking about my history with bullwhips and what the value of that relationship is regarding classic American value. That by itself will be interesting enough. The show will then migrate into my relationship with Gery Deer and the upcoming Annie Oakley event which is unique in America. For the casual listener it will be an entertaining hour. For the seasoned veteran, it will be confirmation and reassurance that you are not the only one out there. There are others.

Rich Hoffman


Listen to The Blaze Radio Network by CLICKING HERE.

What Every Man Must Have: Brownells’ “Big Book”

This is just for the guys today. I’m sure there are ladies, especially those who read here who are just as interested in what I’m about to say, but demographically, this information is most potent to guys—exclusively! The information I am about to give the men in my audience here may rattle their very foundations to the bare DNA with delight. But let me first preface my statement by reporting that the little bit of construction occurring in West Chester just north of the railroad tracks on 747 is in fact a new target range built for indoor shooting and it will be able to handle my Smith & Wesson.500 Magnum. That by itself is something to get excited about.

As I stated previously I have decided to dust off my old gunsmithing roots and get back into things a bit—which for me the very first stop was where I left off—at Brownells and their famous “Big Book.” Well, two wonderful things happened over the weekend while I was on the air at WAAM radio. My family wanted to go see Jurassic World again—which we did as soon as I got off the air and my new Brownells “Big Book” arrived in the mail. I had been doing some work on a few old guns I have and have them all tore apart in my shop and needed a needle oiler to finish so I turned to Brownells for some Kellube synthetic gun lubricant for the magic stuff that makes guns work so well. They rewarded me not only with prompt service, but with a new “Big Book” catalog that features the most extensive gun parts supply in the world.image

What surprises me is that Brownells is not on every single man in America’s nightstand. Too many people who consider themselves shooters do not know about Brownells, which is a crime, because they have more cool gadgets and gizmos in their “Big Book” catalog than any Mac Tool or Snap On catalog ever hoped to have. It is in my opinion the best catalog for a man that there is in the world—and every guy should have one. Every man—even Bruce Jenner. It is in a man’s DNA to want tools to make life better and there is nothing better than tools and guns to a man—NOTHING! Nothing, nothing, N-O-T-H-I-N-G!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The pictures here show just some examples.

imageOh, you need a cleaning kit for a military issue M203 (40mm) grenade launcher or perhaps a (37 mm) variant—guess what—Brownells sells one. Order it today and it will be on your doorstep in a few short days. Oh—you need a tool kit for your AR-15—Brownells has all the special tools you will need to break down that firearm to the last pin that holds it together and allow you to put it back together again. Brownells is the best resource for the modern shooter in the world. End of story. So when you find you need something—feel free to support the local gun dealers and outlets like Cabelas and Bass Pro Shops for the basics. But when you need specifics—schematics, special screw drivers, wrenches, punches, etc, Brownells is the place to shop. What about a hammer spring for your Marlin? Brownells has that spring in stock. You can buy it there as well as all the tools it takes to take the gun apart and put it in. That makes Brownells a treasure beyond value for any man who loves his guns and the tools it takes to maintain them.image

I remembered Brownells from my old gunsmithing days when I maintained a FFI and had to report at the tender age of 19 and 20 my work back to the federal government which I never liked. I got busy in subsequent years raising a family and working with friends within the Western Arts community specifically with bullwhips for the next two decades so I got away from gunsmithing. After I purchased my .500 Magnum I was looking for cleaning supplies for it and dusted off my memory of my old supplier. So I contacted them to see if they were still in business, and guess what—they are better than ever. But you don’t hear about them too much outside of close shooting circles so mainstream guys don’t know much about Brownells. If you are a guy and you like tools and guns, then you need to have a Brownells “Big Book.” There is no “ifs” about it. You just have to do it.image

Brownells carries over 30,000 custom accessories for firearms and is still a tight nit family company that conducts themselves with an old school emphasis on customer service and quality. They are among the best that America has to offer as far as a company. They are small enough to still be family owned, but big enough to carry so many unique items in their vast inventory. It is stunning what they have in their catalog. Much of it can be found online, but there are so many items that it still takes a classic catalog to browse through to see everything because often there are things you didn’t know you needed that you would only see by flipping through the hundreds and hundreds of pages of their “Big Book.”image

I’m sharing this valuable information because Brownells is important to maintaining the Second Amendment. There is a real push from progressive billionaires like George Soros to put pressure on firearm manufacturers and legislators to regulate the firearm industry with a mad mother neurosis on safety. Safety is overrated, what matters more is the experience of being alive, and when dealing with firearms it’s important to handle them with caution so that we can all be alive long enough to enjoy them and the freedoms they provide. Because there are a lot of bad guys out there, and they want our guns so they can thrive in the power vacuum left behind, there is legislation to attempting to destroy the industry on the supply side. Guns are needed to counter the attempts of the Soros types. George Soros would likely not be one of the men who would like Brownells—rather he would prefer Karl Marx for reading material, and that makes him a dangerous man. For the raw hearted American man Brownells has what you are looking for—especially the Gunsmith Kinks series of books sold through Brownells only.   The best way to take away the strategy of the progressive left against guns in America is to keep our guns working longer and better with the tricks of the gunsmithing trade so that all the attempts by Soros and his gun grabbing European progressives will be for nothing. Brownells actually allows you to build a gun from scratch, you don’t necessarily need a firearms manufacturer if you know what you are doing and you can learn through Brownells. That’s their mission in life.image

We want to keep Brownells around. They are based in Iowa and are in good hands in gun country far away from the grabbers of New York and Los Angeles, but they need business to hedge against the legislative attacks that they have endured for decades. There will be more of those attacks, so to keep the “Big Books” flowing Brownells needs our respect and support.image

As I get back into this field of endeavor I am so happy to see Brownells still out there doing the good work they have done for over 75 years. Every man should have a Brownells book next to their bed and should buy at least one tool from them. Because everything about Brownells points to quality and respect—they are the best in the business where threats to gun rights are coming from every direction and they are there to help expand firearm ability and add a new layer to their enjoyment. So if you believe in Second Amendment rights, of course the NRA is important—George Lang’s Second Call Defense is as well, but for my money Brownells is as important. They will enhance that trip to the new West Chester shooting range by having cool gadgets to work on the guns to get them ready at home and at the facility for a day of shooting. The “Big Book” is a work of literature that every man should have and enjoy for the sheer testosterone that emerges from the sight of quality tools and their utilization on fine and treasured firearms. There is nothing better than that! Click the link below to get your own “Big Book” today.

Rich Hoffman


Listen to The Blaze Radio Network by CLICKING HERE.

Preparing for War in America: The way to turn the tide against enemies both foreign and domestic

I certainly wouldn’t consider myself an alarmist. I tend to underplay things in favor of analysis, so when I say or write something it comes after lots of careful consideration. By nature when dealing with observations well over the horizon of contemporary concerns, some of the reports from those unseen frontiers seem like conspiracy. But they aren’t. When Glenn Beck said during his Monday radio show referenced below, that Americans need to prepare for war, I was already thinking the same thing. In fact, it was the premier reason that I finally went out and bought my .500 magnum after many years of contemplation. When you combine the incredible mismanagement within the United States government of our finances, cultural priorities, failed education system and declining Christian conviction, it adds up to a country on the decline. Couple that with a world filled with radical extremists of all walks of life that openly want to attack the United States any way possible, and the blueprint for disaster is clearly at hand. Then to top all that off is the United Nations that wants nothing more than to see America topple as a superpower so that its aim of global socialism can then take root. It is they in the United Nations who are silently rooting for this upcoming war. We’ve talked about it here at Overmanwarrior’s Wisdom for years, and finally the time is upon us. As I said in a previous article the responsible thing to do for all peace-loving Americans is to go to the store and buy a gun, because when firearm sales spike up, it just might put the scare into these encroaching forces to retreat from their current plans. But a failure to act will encourage them. That failure will lead to much worse than the implication of buying a gun for personal property protection.   Here’s how Glenn Beck’s The Blaze news outlet reported the issue:

Glenn Beck on Monday suggested that Americans “prepare for all-out war, war unlike we have ever seen in our lifetime.”

Beck was discussing the Iraq war on his radio program when he made the warning, saying it should have begun more aggressively, with “shock and awe” from the outset. He has long maintained that in war, one should fight to win and then come home.

“We talk about World War II, where they did shock and awe,” Beck’s co-host Stu Burguiere said. “Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of civilians died. It was not a pretty picture. And obviously war is hell, but is there any way that America — with the backbone we have today, with the 99 percenters and Occupy Wall Street as part of this country, with all that — they are going to accept a war effort like that?”

Beck said the next truly devastating terrorist attack will be perpetrated by “home-grown” terrorists, and “they will be in multiple cities, so you won’t know” what to expect next.

“Did you see what ISIS came out and said? That ISIS, their number one goal now is to hit America and kill the president. I cannot imagine. That would change perspectives entirely,” Beck remarked. “We got the Patriot Act the last time. Can you even imagine what the Department of Homeland Security would do if they, God forbid, hurt the president?”

Beck said he doesn’t know how exactly the attack would manifest itself, but he suggests that “you prepare for all-out war.”

To get through this time of massive collapse not only of hopes and dreams that previous generations may have had for the future—but a literal collapse of resources available, it will take a swagger from the typical American that has not been seen since its inception. To get that swagger it helps to have a well stocked personal arsenal in each and every home. The police and military are useful for keeping the peace in this current environment, but they are collective based organizations who take orders from a failing government. So they really can’t be trusted to deal with the acts of terror that are coming both domestically and from foreign aggression. When the resources truly run out in poor sectors of a city for instance the looting of the outlining suburbs will become a lucrative target and as seen in Ferguson and Baltimore recently, the police will not be able to help and the military won’t be willing as they were in the 60s to step in. That leaves residences alone to protect themselves from enemies both foreign and domestic—which is why there is a Second Amendment in the first place.

It really would only take a few days without power for instance to set off the massive violence seen in recent movies like The Purge to unleash across society. The only thing that really keeps mankind working together is easy access to food and water. The moment those two things are gone, human beings quickly become nothing more than animals—and for those who do not want to be victims to animals, you need to protect yourself with a firearm. For instance, consider the logistical problem of making deliveries to a local store during a crises situation, such as a roving mob of radicals looking to steal whatever they can get their hands on exacerbated by a long sustained power outage. The police would be overloaded with crime breakouts everywhere and could not protect every truck delivering supplies. Carriers would likely not risk delivering to places where their drivers might be attacked, but if the area is affluent and well-protected by thousands of homes all containing firearms, where crime is lower, they are more likely to continue supplying to those areas. That is just a small way that owning a firearm is the responsible thing to do. The easy targets for such mobs will be areas where there are few firearms, particularly urban areas where only the bad buys have guns. But suburbs where there are lots of firearms would be much harder to attack just because of the sheer volume of firearms located in those regions.

I remember when Hurricane Fran knocked out power to Liberty Township, Ohio for about 4 days. I had to buy a chain saw from Tractor Supply to get fallen trees off my house. They had to make the financial exchange the old fashion way, with cash and a hand written receipt. The banks couldn’t give out any money because of the lack of power, gas stations couldn’t pump fuel, and credit card companies couldn’t do phone transactions. If I hadn’t had $600 in cash on me I wouldn’t have been able to buy the chain saw. But if that Tractor Supply store had been in an area that was not surrounded by homes with an average gun ownership of four or more, they might not have been willing to take the risk of holding all that cash in a safe until the power was restored. And they would have stopped deliveries because they couldn’t protect their inventory. That’s the benefit of gun ownership, when the grid goes down—which will be the objective all the upcoming maniacal terrorists—the best way to keep some semblance of a civilized society is to offer up your guns as protection of capitalist endeavors. Delivery of products and services is what the Second Amendment guarantees. When traveling through areas of the country where gun ownership is high, you tend to see more financial investment by entrepreneurs. Where gun ownership is low there is less. And in those areas where gun ownership is high you are more likely to see people treating each other civilly whether it is like Tractor Supply allowing cash transactions during a power outage while carrying hundreds of thousands of dollars in raw cash in their vaults, or a grocery keeping deliveries coming because their client base isn’t a threat to their operations. Gun ownership is the backbone of a capitalist economy.

When terrorists attacked the World Trade Center on 9/11 2001 they intended to start a chain reaction that would harm the American economy. They didn’t care about killing 3000 people, but they did want to kill the American economy and it is a sure bet that future attacks will be focused on a similar outcome. They don’t care if it is a slow death. They only care that America dies. The poor management of our current government in America whether by design or sheer ineptness has set the stage for making our economy an easy target for those who hate the United States and its capitalist endeavors seeking to put an end to our country’s sovereignty. There is no reason to think that there isn’t more attacks coming aimed directly at our very lifestyle—and most of the world is behind the effort. We have to be honest about that.

One of the reasons that Japanese society flourished so well after World War II is that their whole society was destroyed—including their rules and regulations. They were able quickly to take their samurai warrior mythological background with their collective unity and adopt American capitalism to rise to the top of the economic standard in a few short years. Enemies of America have sought for a long time to further encumber our economy more and more one rule at a time until it is so difficult to do business in America that our economy would just collapse from the sheer debt collected over time and the inability to deliver enough GDP to sustain that debt. It’s a strategy being used against us all, silently, slowly and with great patience. When the time is right, they will strike. As Beck said, a major strike now would cripple us with more branches of government, more regulations, more taxes and fees as the panic driven types who were caught mismanaging the situation attempt to throw money and resources at the issues to mask their incompetence. And even that is part of the strategy against us even now—to get the panic driven in the United States to assist the enemy with more self-imposed regulation.   If there are any fantasies of holding on to your country, you better prepare for all out war. And you don’t prepare for war without guns and ammunition—not for this war that’s coming.

Over the years I tend to deal with personal threats without guns. I have a collection of melee weapons that do just fine for assailants of three or less. Nine times out of ten melee weapons are just fine for staying out of trouble while protecting assets. However in the back of my mind if the situation calls for that tenth occurrence, then I have firearms that can handle the task. But preparing for war is not just about personal protection. Its more than that—it’s about keeping your society functioning when elements of safety and structure are threatened. For that you need to have guns—lots of guns. The more the better—because guns ensure that pockets of violence will be isolated to areas that don’t have guns—which gives those in charge of retaking areas dominated by violence and chaos a chance to strategically do so. Guns help a lot more than any study has so far proclaimed. They bring peace of mind to more than just the family residence—they make it hard for bad guys to run loose and prey on the innocent where opportunity through economical means is more prevalent. Guns mean defense not just of private property, but entire regions. So the most practical and best way to prepare for this upcoming war—and perhaps even prevent such a tragedy is to buy a gun today. And better yet—several guns. Guns mean stability.

Those who are against private gun ownership ironically are those who have mismanaged the situation to the level they currently are—and they are not in a position to offer their criticisms. The world has gone astray under their advice so its time to stop listening to them. They were given a seat at the table of thought and they failed—miserably. That leaves the rest to deal with the crises they created—and to do that—we need guns–lots and lots of guns. The war of tomorrow won’t be fought with tanks, airplanes or even ground troops. It will be fought by individuals against collectivists and for the individual the gun gives them leverage against the terrorism that comes often from mobs of activists seeking to advance their cause—whatever it may be. In the case of Islam it is the worship of a god. In the case of politics, it is a left-leaning Karl Marx philosophy. But in all cases individuals have to protect capitalism and to do that—we need guns. When a society has a lot of guns, it will have the swagger that’s needed to fight back against horrible enemies who think like animals and are willing to do anything to anybody just to advance their version of reality.

Rich Hoffman


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What Comments can Teach Us: The changing tide of public education sentimate

Since the Enquirer has picked through my material to help boost its readership at times, I’m sure they won’t mind if I use their comment section from a recent article about Lakota teachers to explore some of the back and forth that has been going on, which is important to capture for analysis.  Back in the day I’d sometimes participate in these comments like my friend Sharon Poe below does, but since the Enquirer has moved to requiring Facebook log ins, it excludes me.  I don’t do Facebook.  There are a couple of generic accounts that were created for my professional endeavors, which I don’t even log in to—so I have no Facebook account and I never will.  I do not agree with the terms of service at Facebook, so the Enquirer system doesn’t work for me.  But there is some use in watching what other people have to say which can be seen below.  In essence, the following comment stream is regarding the recent teacher protests before and after school activities over the merit pay issue.

Really there are two types of people who participate in these forums.  It used to be all union people until a few years ago when they began to be challenged out in the open by reformers.  Then the standard answers about how hard the teaching profession is, or how much money they make, or how much they sacrifice for the “children” was unchecked, but not anymore.  More than ever, everyday people participate in these forums to advance thought, and opinions have changed.  It should be noticed that one commenter castigated my friend Sharon who is from a neighboring district of Mason for sticking her nose into Lakota business, but nothing is said to the teacher from Sandusky schools which is about as far away in the state of Ohio that anyone could get.  That is just one example of the bi-polar relationship that public school teachers and their supporters have with the outside world.  What’s good for them is acceptable 100% of the time.  But if someone from the other side of opinion utilizes the same—they kick and scream like babies with a rash during a diaper change.   The rampant union supporter is one type of participant—and they have largely been neutered from what they used to be.  They are very careful about their comments compared to five years ago.  This is because of the other type, the reformer—who is growing in number year by year and has been present to debate the very premise of pubic education.  Have a look at the basis for their discussions.

Joe Shooner ·

Cincinnati, Ohio

I’m a Lakota parent, and I fully support the idea of paying our teachers well. My kids are relying on that education, I consider it money well spent to retain and attract good teachers. I know my kids teachers. I see the cars they drive, I learn where they live. On paper, some district employees are doing very well – especially since most cost estimates I’ve seen include ALL benefits. As a person in a small business, I can tell you that a 40K salary can EASILY have a total cost of $60K if you factor in taxes, healthcare, etc. The majority of teachers are not getting rich off of this job. If yo…See More

Like · Reply · 7 · Apr 24, 2015 9:44am

Joe Doerger

The whole merit pay issue is specious. Mainly because it’s unsustainable and will actually cost districts MORE in the long run which means MORE and HIGHER taxes MORE often.

Every merit pay scheme has been used to keep down some salaries by giving more to others. The pool of money has to grow larger to pay everymore teachers more merit pay. Without a reliable source of new money, merit pay will result in unfair discrepancies in teacher pay. You can’t give all the money to a math teacher when you also need English and Social Studies teachers.

Think about it, if EVERY teacher qualifies for “mer…See More

Like · Reply · 3 · Apr 24, 2015 10:14am

Emily Cottingham

This is very unfair for the teachers. How would you like to be judged on the performance of others? Some students do not have the capacity or the desire to learn, and why should a teacher be judged on that? Also, some of the worst teachers teach the smartest kids, who are self driven. Why should that teacher be rewarded because their students perform well? Basing a teacher’s pay off of a students work is unjust, and will just encourage teachers to only teach to the tests and nothing else. Learning in school is a made up of much more than learning how to pass stupid assessments designed by those not teaching the class.

Like · Reply · 3 · Apr 24, 2015 8:27am

Nicol Neate

sorry, too many are just glorified babysitters, and if they have a student who has no desire to learn, or is struggling it is THEIR JOB to get through some how.

Like · Reply · Apr 24, 2015 8:49am

Joe Doerger

Nicol Neate sorry, but you are a very uninformed citizen. They’re TEACHERS. 

Now if you suggest that some of their students (and their parents) are glorified babies, you might be on to something

Like · Reply · 6 · Apr 24, 2015 9:09am

Emily Cottingham

There’s only so much teachers can do. In the real world, if an employee does nothing, they get fired. In school, the most that can happen is the student can get a detention, and gets failed. But they are still supposed to learn the material, and the teacher gets evaluated based on that. The teacher can’t follow the student home and make them do the work. They can’t keep them after and force them to do it. And they can’t sacrifice class time to teach that student individually, and sacrifice the learning of the other students. Often, the parents aren’t making their kids accountable and don’t force their kids to do homework. But if the student isn’t learning, the teachers automatically get blamed.

Like · Reply · 3 · Apr 24, 2015 9:46am

Show 4 more replies in this thread

Jackie Conrad ·

Teacher at Sandusky City Schools

The Constitution. Read it. Those teachers are exercising their rights. Judge not.

Like · Reply · 2 · 17 hrs

Alex Daniel ·

Cincinnati, Ohio

Yes and using their positions to unduly influence their pupils into supporting their backwards political beliefs….I guess tax payers shouldn’t be allowed to preside in judgement over that right?

Like · Reply · 16 hrs

Michael Smith ·

Cincinnati, Ohio

What people do not seem to understand is that the evaluation system mandated by the Ohio State Legislature is horrifically flawed. The American Statistical Association has even stated that it has zero value in determining teacher merit.

The fundamental issue is that the state mandates the use of test scores but the calculation that translates these scores into merit is no more reliable than flipping a coin. They take each child’s score at the beginning of the year on their grade-level test, then project what the child would have to score at the “end” of the year (in reality a month or two b…See More

Like · Reply · 2 · Apr 24, 2015 11:41am

Sharon Constable Poe ·

Loveland High School

Until Ohio becomes a Right to Work state unions will control our schools! These people have no idea what it is like to have to sacrifice. Disgusting and shame on you Lakota teachers!

Like · Reply · 1 · Apr 24, 2015 8:18am

Joe Doerger

Yeah! Shame on you teachers for exercising your right to assemble peacefully according to the 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America!

How DARE you?

Quick! Let’s pass some laws so they can’t do that. After all, LIBERTY, is only for someone else! And not teachers.

Like · Reply · 5 · Apr 24, 2015 9:03am

Don DeLotell ·

Miami University

Shame on you Sharon Poe for sticking your nose into Lakota Schools just like you did for so many of those years with Mason schools–you are from the Party of No and to think teachers haven’t sacrificed indicates how clueless of what a teacher actually does speaks volumes. If being a teacher is so good I would suggest you go get a college degree with a major in Education and after 4 years apply for the “dream job”.

Like · Reply · 3 · 23 hrs

Michael Croy

@Sharon- Can you share some examples of how teachers have no idea about what it is like to sacrifice?

Like · Reply · 1 hr

Ryan Pride ·

Front Ensemble Technician at Phantom Regiment

If you think basing pay off of merit (I.e. Test scores) holds teachers accountable, then you are ignorant on the subject. All tests do is measure how well a kid takes a test, not if they actually understood the information. Good teachers are being punished by standardized testing and are leaving the profession in droves. Would you trust someone to make a car seat for your child, but then argue that they’re paid too much to make a quality and safe product to protect your child? No? Well guess what, your child’s EDUCATOR (as in the person who provides information for them to use the rest of thei…See More

Like · Reply · 1 · 20 hrs

Alex Daniel ·

Cincinnati, Ohio

Let’s see:
-Irrationally equating the purchasing choice of a commercial commodity to the pay scale of a public sector worker….check. 

-blindly accusing parents of being absent from their child’s lives and pawning their education off on strangers…check.

-and presenting the boilerplate, ready-made response to the idea of actually having standards in performance evaluations for teachers….check. 

Seems you’ve hit all the bases of being a stooge for teacher’s unions. Congratulations.

Like · Reply · 16 hrs

Ryan Pride ·

Front Ensemble Technician at Phantom Regiment

Not being able to negate any of my points? Check. Mindlessly joining the ranks of critics who probably have zero teaching experience? Check. Attempting to belittle someone though intellectual masterbation? Double check. Being a “stooge” doesn’t make me wrong.

Like · Reply · 2 · 14 hrs

Kevin Lee Austin ·

System Administrator at Wright State University

Here is some interesting reading from 2011.…/pay-rate-for…/

Like · Reply · Apr 24, 2015 10:48am

Joe Shooner ·

Cincinnati, Ohio

I would guess, and this is truly a guess, that those numbers do not reflect their actual salary, but their cost to the disctrict. While they are related, it’s important to realize that any legitimate employer who pays taxes, medicare, and especially any type of health insurance, will incur a much higher “cost” for an employee than what that employee receives on their paycheck, even their gross wages. It varies, but an employer can easily have a cost of 25-40% haigher than the salary alone.

Like · Reply · Apr 24, 2015 11:08am

Joe Doerger

Sow what’s your point? Is it too much? Is it too little? Compared to what?

What do YOU make and why don’t YOU list it along with your name and other personal information? What are you afraid of?

Like · Reply · Apr 24, 2015 11:11am

Kevin Lee Austin ·

System Administrator at Wright State University

Joe Shooner Those are salaries, not salary plus benefits.

Like · Reply · Apr 24, 2015 11:12am

Show 2 more replies in this thread

Kevin Lee Austin ·

System Administrator at Wright State University

Must be a weekday. More grumbling from the Lakota teacher’s union.

Like · Reply · Apr 24, 2015 7:51am

Joe Doerger

I think it’s call “freedom of assembly.”

Like · Reply · 3 · Apr 24, 2015 10:16am

Alex Daniel ·

Cincinnati, Ohio

Joe Doerger; It’s called stealing tax payer dollars.

Like · Reply · 16 hrs

Nicol Neate

Golly, don’t the teachers use this in their own classes? You have to earn things in life, including raises. ~rolls eyes~ Our teachers are becoming priviledged group who think they dont have to answer to anyone. Well, our failing schools show they need to earn their check, like anyone else. Quit whining like you’d tell your students.

Like · Reply · Apr 24, 2015 8:22am

Joe Doerger

Oh those “privileged” teachers. With their desks and their tests. And their rooms with chairs. I guess that’s why EVERYONE is chucking their careers on Wall St. to get into classrooms as soon as possible. After all, THAT’S where the money is, right?

Like · Reply · 5 · Apr 24, 2015 9:07am

Michelle Langlois Wagner ·

West Chester Township, Butler County, Ohio

Even using your extremely flawed logic, Nicol, the schools in Lakota have repeatedly been identified as excellent with distinction-the very opposite of failing. You are simply demanding that teachers work hard for less pay, based on a system (merit pay) that has never been shown to work. Ever.

Like · Reply · 2 · Apr 24, 2015 11:53am

Maureen Basedow ·

10th grade science teacher at Cincinnati Public Schools

Michelle Langlois Wagner, I was a college professor before teaching high school. The absolute best local students at Miami and Xavier came from Lakota. Lakota was doing it right. The best local suburban high school by far, Nicol Neate. Now who should be paid for that?

Like · Reply · 17 hrs

Probably the most common argument in favor of the public education system and the infinite pay the employees demand was from the Shooner person: “I’m a Lakota parent, and I fully support the idea of paying our teachers well. My kids are relying on that education, I consider it money well spent to retain and attract good teachers. I know my kids teachers. I see the cars they drive, I learn where they live. On paper, some district employees are doing very well – especially since most cost estimates I’ve seen include ALL benefits. As a person in a small business, I can tell you that a 40K salary can EASILY have a total cost of $60K if you factor in taxes, healthcare, etc. The majority of teachers are not getting rich off of this job.”  That guy thinks he has all the bases covered, he identifies himself as a person who understands the economics of the situation—he asserts the value the public education service has to him, then attempts to justify the value without any real substantial equity being used to balance out that value.  On the surface these people sound reasonable until you consider the implication of what they are putting forth.  40K per year is above the average wage rate in the United States—let alone 60K—so how much is a teacher worth?  That depends on whether or not you have school aged kids.  Youthful parents tend to be more neurotic on the issue whereas older people have learned the value of money and are more stringent.

The other argument that didn’t come up much in these comments, but ultimately are the last resort in such exchanges is that public schools should be appeased because our property values magically go up every year and that we should be willing to donate some of that value back into the schools so that these unionized employees can have the jackpot.  There are two problems with that situation, realtors—who are always some of the most vocal school levy advocates—use public schools to attract those lily pad hoppers who move to a district for the schools, then move away when the next fad hits—or they move in their career wanting to cash in on the increased value of their homes.  So using schools as a way to increase the value of a district’s real estate value is like taking a drug—the fix might be immediate and benefit the people who stay in a home for 5 to 7 years—but it penalizes investors who stick around for a decade or two—because the cycle of growth doesn’t sustain itself over time.  The other problem is that home values do not really increase—it is only through inflation that they appear to grow.  In the short run that money can be taxed, and loans can be taken out against that value, but it will not sustain itself for a decade or two.  Homes only increase in value if there are more people who want to buy that house in the future then the market will allow.  If everyone who wants a house can get one in the area of their choice, values won’t hold.  For instance, values hold in Indian Hill because there are limited homes per re-sale opportunity.  For every home that goes up for sale, there may be four buyers—hypothetically speaking.  However, in Lakota there are plenty of homes.  Builders have placed them under every tree, stream and school cross walk.  Currently there are a reasonable number of people who want to live in the Lakota district and it helps that there is commercial growth—but within the decade that will change.  There will be so many homes priced at the upper end of the market value that there might only be one or two buyers per home—putting the sales leverage on the buyer—not the seller.   Even though a home may be valued and taxed by the Lakota school system at $280,000 a buyer may only be willing to pay $210,000 for it.  If you don’t come down on that price the buyer will walk.  How does that cover a perceived investment?

I had a couple of sets of friends who lived in Four Bridges.  Their kids grew up; graduated from Lakota—then they moved away.  Their $300,000 to $500,000 homes sat on the market for over a year each and when they did sell; it was about 15% less than they wanted.  They had hoped to make money on those homes, but instead took a loss to move the units.  There just aren’t that many buyers out there who can buy a quarter million dollar home in the first place—let alone one in an area with a lot of competition.  If a potential buyer wants to move to an area to send their kids to Lakota schools—or Mason for that matter and a seller doesn’t come down on their price—there is a cookie cutter home down the road from a seller who will—so the leverage is gone from the homeowner leaving them to support every school levy that comes along hoping that more potential buyers in the future will maintain their increases in property value.  But most of the time it won’t.

Most parents who blindly support public school levies and the teachers who baby sit their kids fall in this category—only they never admit to it.  They hope and pray to make 20K to 30K on their home so they can downsize into a condo at some point in the future once their kids are grown, and live off the gains.  But it doesn’t work that way for most people.  If there are gains made, they are either absorbed by inflation, or taxes.  Or they are lost due to other circumstances leaving these current school levy supporters angry with themselves for supporting a levy a decade ago.

And that’s the situation that is coming to Lakota and Mason schools—and is why there are fewer people commenting these days on behalf of the greedy out-of-touch teachers.  Even with the growth of commercial enterprises—such as the new Liberty Center—there will be declining enrollment at Lakota as kids grow up and move away, but their parents stick around burnt by that same school plaguing them with buyer’s remorse.  Since the gains in property value will not be what those former supporters had hoped for, they will stay at Lakota and hold their properties and won’t want to support the schools because they won’t have kids in the school any longer.  That is the situation that the Lakota teachers are protesting as they expect to receive a higher than average wage in a community where the children are leaving, the parents are staying—and are bitter that their investment yield wasn’t what they had dreamed of.  And they will vote with their wallets—like people always do.  School supporters know they can get cheaper babysitting through the public school, so to them it’s a bargain.  But for those who don’t have kids in school, they want nothing to do with Lakota, or the taxes that spawn from it.

Those are just some things to consider.  I have watched this issue for a long time and its course is set and certain.  Yet in the comment section of the Enquirer are the same old tired diatribes that sound silly and out-dated now that there is more information to consider.  And that trend will only increase in subsequent years.  These are not the times of old where the teacher unions controlled the boards of newspapers and captured public opinion through guilt.  People are sick of these spoiled brats and the difference now from then is that they are willing to say it, just as Dan Varney did in the Enquirer article.  Nobody used to talk like that—but they do now—and that does not add up to success for the labor union position.  They are losing ground—quickly.

Rich Hoffman


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The Iranian Obamanation: A socialist apocalypse in the Middle East

So the deadline came and went between Obama’s administration and Iran yet the result essentially was nothing but to talk more. The Obama people lost their momentum well before Bibi came to speak before congress. They lost it when the administration set the deadline in the first place and let those hostile to America—and capitalism in general—know that there was a light at the end of the tunnel on sanctions if they played their cards close to their vest. Meanwhile, many in the streets of Iran chanted, “death to America” as John Kerry tried to spin the situation into something positive. Yet again, the actions of the Obamanation showed just how stupid the President is, and the people around him—how tactfully ignorant they truly are. It is the second time in the course of a week that I have been too embarrassed by President Obama and his team to even utter a criticism, the first was the Bowe Bergdahl situation. It is simply unbelievable that an American president could be so stupid.

Iran has a long history with communism and socialism, in the 1920s it was the Hizb-e Socialysist Party. Into the 50s, 60s and 70s a variety of Marxist groups penetrated Iran and the rest of the Muslim world ranging in the spectrum between Trotskyist to Moaist recruited largely through universities and inciting the working poor against the capitalism of the West. Several generations of Iranians now have been nurtured into a hatred of capitalism because of the long history that Iran has with socialism. They have destroyed their economy nearly completely because of their commitment to socialism. The people of Iran are so under developed that they cannot ever hope to embrace the gifts of the West in their lifetimes—so hatred has seethed there for decades made worse as time has went on. When the United States launched sanctions against Iran it cut off the only hope that common people in the nation could have had for a good life—since internally the socialism of their country destroyed all potential prosperity. Most Iranians would have loved to have the arrangement that communist China has with the United States—because at least there are jobs given to them, but since Iranians are now two generations of sanctions into years of a dismal economic activity they really have nothing left to lose but to lash out at others like parentless children desperate for attention.

Cut off from capitalism, and some resemblance of an honorable living, the Iranian people are stuck fighting among themselves like dogs over scraps of meat—since their economy is so dismal, due to their choices. As a strategy against the world they have nothing to offer the world but a reprieve from violence—because that is what their adherence to socialism has done for them masked behind Islamic faith. To get the attention of the developed countries they have sponsored terrorism, and created anxiety over nuclear weapons to maintain some relevancy on the world stage.

The Obama administration, leaning toward socialism in their own way, is sympathetic to the collectivism efforts of Iran over the capitalist leanings of Israel—and they despise any trace of the West in the Middle East—not so much due to religious differences, but in the differences between a capitalist economy and a socialist one.   They want to lift the sanctions in a similar way as Obama did for communist Cuba—and Iran knows it. So the power in negotiations goes to Iran. America also wants everyone in the Middle East to have equality without the qualifier of a capitalist country or a socialist one using collectivism to destroy commerce. This again gives power to Iran over America. Yet the worst of all is that America has a deadline whereas Iran has all the time in the world. They have absolutely nothing to lose in negotiations with America—whereas Obama wants to make Iran a part of his legacy as President. Of course Iran has the upper hand in such an exchange giving nothing to Obama’s team in the form of leverage. Like insane fools they have rushed to enter negotiations against an adversary that wants to kill all Americans as a collective society.

Choking on ideology and really poor strategy, Obama lost before he ever went to the table against Iran—and they were at least smart enough to realize it. They should have seen what was clear to everyone from the beginning, but they ignored the evidence and chose to view the world with rose-colored glasses and the pipe dreams of typical liberals taught through academia to trust logic to the gods of speculation and wishful thinking. And in Iran, there is nothing to wish for leaving only desperate foes and scandalous bandits seeking with great desperation to get their hands on a nuclear weapon so that they might bomb their way to a loaf of bread, or a used 1970s American car—because in the beginning—they chose socialism over capitalism, and their world is suffering an apocalypse as a result.

Rich Hoffman


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Sacrifice to Santa Maurta: Understanding the nature of terrorism

It is a pleasure to release the third installment of the Cliffhanger story, The Curse of Fort Seven Mile titled “Sacrifice to Santa Maurta.” These stories are part of an ongoing project I have to contemplate a philosophy for the next century dealing with themes that go well beyond the typical action adventure story. They are specifically construimagected to cover difficult aspects of our culture and weave them into the motivations of the present through a mythological means greatly underutilized in modern entertainment. The Cliffhanger series allows me to cover very difficult subject matter similar in manner to one of my favorite books, The Republic, by Plato where he uses Socrates as a character canvas for concepts of a philosophic nature to articulate the thoughts of their day. Using the modern Cliffhanger as a type of modern Zorro/Batman character it allows me to explore difficult contemporary subjects that just aren’t getting coverage any other way. A fine example of that is in our modern drug culture.

It is hard for people to understand the motivations of terrorist groups like ISIS or the drug cartels on the Mexican/American border. In many ways, I see the drug cartels as every bit as dangerous as ISIS. Like the Islamic extremists of late, the drug cartels routinely cut the heads off their enemies and incite terror all over the south western states and all across Central America. Terrorist cartels run Mexico and it gets very little press coverage leaving most people uninformed as to their motivations. What drug cartels and ISIS have in common is a sense of collectivism where the gang of thugs for which they are members are considered part of a family unit—and they partake in deity worship. In the ISIS case it’s Allah, in the typical drug cartel it’s Santa Maurte. This latest Cliffhanger story puts readers into the minds of a typical drug cartel member and covers some very provocative ground intellectually. I’m very proud of the way the story has come together and how it fits into a much larger philosophy which is of course the intention. The following description is what the “Sacrifice to Santa Maurta” is all about.  I changed the spelling a bit to avoid a direct insult of a goddess that is quite popular today.

The Los Ebola drug cartel is executing a young woman as part of a sinister plan to enact terrorism, drug addiction, and social unrest through-out America. Of their prime concern is the drug trafficking lanes lost recently to a rival cartel into the neighborhoods of Fort Seven Mile. The goddess of their religion, Santa Murata demands to be fed the blood sacrifice of an offering to turn their luck back to a favorable standing.

Yet the bandit Cliffhanger has other plans and uses his flaming bullwhips under the cover of darkness to enact justice against the blood thirsty desires of the skeletal deity and her otherworldly plans for global insurrection. But first a damsel in distress is in need across railroad tracks as a freight train looms upon her intent on creating a corpse. In spite of Cliffhanger’s heroics a forbidden technology is brought forth that will point to an answer that is more mysterious than the question—who is Cliffhanger?

It is exciting even though the subject matter is quite serious, to tell stories like this.   There is the typical swashbuckling aspect which is consistent to what they are becoming known for. That’s entirely on purpose. I’ve always thought that classic westerns were wonderful vehicles for instructing contemporary values and that is something missing from our culture. Cliffhanger as a series of stories is certainly modeled after my love of westerns and the villains are often dirty politicians, and drug cartels, but something that extends this into the work of philosophy is that the primary villain is a philosophy of collectivism as opposed to just an individual functioning from greed. That takes this work out of the realm of whimsical fantasy and makes it a platform for philosophy.

In the “Sacrifice to Santa Maurta” a concept is explored that permeates all collective based cultures—the concept of sacrifice, and the belief that something must be given up to something so that something else can happen. So far in the overall story arch of The Curse of Fort Seven Mile, sacrifice has been a consistent message. In the first installment, the police union wanted the community to sacrifice money to their requirements of a collective bargaining agreement to bring safety to Fort Seven Mile after a series of deaths and tragedies grabbed headlines. In the second installment, “Latté Sipping Prostitutes” a teacher’s union expected a sacrifice on behalf of the community in order to care for the children attending their schools. In this installment, “Sacrifice to Santa Maurta” the belief in sacrifice isn’t disguised behind altruism like it is in typical political efforts previously described—it is quite literal and cuts straight to the thoughts of the typical drug trafficker.

To write this story I reflected back to personal experience. The first adults I knew outside of my family professionally were hit men, money launderers and drug traffickers. Even though I was never part of their criminal activities I was recruited and had their trust, and they’d tell me things. I learned what being a “heavy” was before I had a driver’s license and would hear stories of bringing enforcement to their targets. It was a good experience that I would never trade away even if I disagreed with the way those people made their living. What we all had in common was a love of the dying order of manhood where bravery and valor were still traits men admired in each other—even if they were politically and ideologically opposed. I learned close-up how those types of people thought and it sent me on a life-long quest to understand all the nuances.

Drug cartels in Mexico tend to name themselves after dangerous diseases and superstitions. Their real life belief in Santa Maurte is a mix of Mayan culture and the Catholic influences of the Spanish conquistadors. She is a grim reaper like figure that is commonly found at drug festivals, paraphernalia shops, and flea markets. She also has many shrines dedicated to her along southern American highways. They are much like ISIS in their desire to incite terrorism among their targets. They don’t often see themselves as evil, but as opportunists who are fighting for some noble cause. They see America as a corrupt and evil place largely because they were raised in socialist cultures south of the border taught to hate capitalism. They see America as a place that lacks spiritual direction and have no problem with poisoning the culture of North America so it softens the great capitalist nation for their subtle invasion—a revenge for the Spanish-American war.

It might be noted that the leader of the notorious Zetas drug cartel was captured recently in the city of Monterrey. Alejandro Trevino-Morales nicknamed Omar was the head of one of the most violent modern drug cartels. He was so dangerous that the Mexican government had a $2 million dollar reward for his capture and it’s beyond question that he’s directly responsible for many killings, beheadings and general terrorism inflicted among many innocents. But in the cartel business, it will be the next man up. Omar’s capture will do nothing to curb the supply of drugs coming into America because the demand out-weighs the risk of supply. Just before the arrest of Omar Servando “La Tuta” Gomez leader of the Knights Templar cartel was arrested. Yet the drugs continue because the cartels are built from the foundations of collectivism and sacrifice where their actions in this life are measured toward the aims of the afterlife—and that makes them dangerous. They actually believe that they will gain some measure of success in their post life years because of the violence and terror they inflict on behalf of their deities.

To really comprehend terrorism in general you have to understand the ridiculous nature of the fuel which feeds them—which is the notion that by sacrificing themselves or others to a cause of greater importance—that they gain redemption in the afterlife. Their definition of greater importance is defined by the parameters of collectivism not the individual motivations of property rights. Their hatred points straight back to the gulf between socialists and capitalists.

In The Curse of Fort Seven Mile stories Cliffhanger is an unfettered capitalist and the hints as to what extent are first shown in “Sacrifice to Santa Maurta.” It becomes clear toward the end of this story and in the next couple of installments why Cliffhanger is viewed as a villain by the collectivist organizations so far shown, first the police union, then the teacher’s union, and now a drug cartel. Cliffhanger is fighting for something philosophically foreign to collectivists and they hate him for his success. It is in that conflict that I am proud because it’s difficult to frame in a way that can become part of a story and the necessity of entertainment value. The essence is a long forged contemplation that can be brought forth through such a charismatic character. Some will hate him, some will love him—and the reasons why there are different interpretations of the same character are why this can only be a work of philosophy intended for a new century of understanding as the old modes of instruction have contaminated the minds of many with improper thinking and lost values misplaced due to their notion of sacrifice and its social necessity.

Read the “Sacrifice to Santa Maurta” by clicking the link below:

Rich Hoffman


Listen to The Blaze Radio Network by CLICKING HERE.