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 Fox News Magic Freak Show: How the Murdoch kids are screwing up and why Bill O’reilly will survive

I was doing some work so I loosely had on Tucker Carlson’s show in the old O’Reilly time slot on Fox News and it was terrible. I like Tucker, but the show just wasn’t working for me and when Bruce Jenner came on dressed in drag to show his wrinkled up old ass on my giant 4K television I turned it off and went into the garage to do some reloading of ammunition.  I have much better things to do with my life than watch that kind of crap.  If that’s what Fox News thinks is going to work now that the sons of Rupert Murdoch have pushed out Bill O’Reilly and Roger Ailes of Fox so that they can make their own way in the world.  I predict they will go out of business pretty fast.  The show The Five is just terrible—because Bob Beckel is like listening to a sick old man complaining about a toilet being clogged up, when he was the one who did all the clogging.  It was just an intolerable line-up and Fox News should be ashamed of themselves as an organization.  O’Reilly’s exit had nothing to do with women or sex—it was all about moving the station toward a more centrist position politically by the Murdoch kids and it was clearly not my taste.  I have a busy life and I don’t have time to waste on Bruce Jenner and a Fox News freak show.

I wasn’t planning to but I turned on O’Reilly’s podcast while I worked at my workbench pressing bullets into their casings and you know what—Bill’s little radio show was much better than anything I had seen on Fox News from 4 pm until that 8:30 pm moment where I turned it off at the site of Bruce Jenner’s wrinkled mug complete with a wig that looked like he snatched it from a Key West street whore from lower Duval. O’Reilly is after all the only connection our present society has to honest old-fashioned news the way the networks used to strive to deliver it.  Even PBS back in the day had a much better journalistic approach—I didn’t even know that Bill Moyers was a liberal until the late 90s.  O’Reilly knows how to deliver the news and that’s all I want.  I don’t want dudes dressed in drag and I don’t want to hear Bob Beckel’s anti-Trump rhetoric all the time. Honestly, I don’t care if the other political socialist loving liberal side of our society falls off the face of the earth—when I’m relaxing at home I don’t want to hear from them.  I see them enough around town and in daily business.  Roger Ailes understood that which is how Fox News became so popular to begin with.  The Murdoch kids—they haven’t got a clue.  They are typical second-handers who have no idea why their dad was successful.  They just know they are rich and that they can dump people like Bill O’Reilly and change him out with other people and everything will just work out.  Clearly, that was wrong after only one night.

I had my suspicions about the sex allegations against O’Reilly and Ailes, but when Sean Hannity’s name was tossed in the mix over this past weekend I knew the whole thing was a well-planned, and coordinated attack against the conservatives at Fox News. The Murdoch boys played along with the New York Times because they wanted to fulfil their dream of building their own legacy—but the attack was meant to destroy Fox News and indirectly the Trump administration. Hannity is about as clean of a Boy Scout as there is at a celebrity status—there is no way he was asking women to his hotel room.  I don’t think those words could ever come out of his mouth.  That’s just not in the realm of possibility and he can defend his position—so when the claim was made it was obvious what was happening.  I’ll listen to O’Reilly from my garage and won’t waste my time with Fox News.  That actually helps me with my shooting hobby so I have no complaints.  I’m just happy to see O’Reilly get back on the horse so quickly.

It has now been revealed that during the campaign of 2016 Hillary Clinton didn’t understand why she was losing to Bernie Sanders and ultimately why Donald Trump did so well. The world had changed and Hillary didn’t see it coming with all her liberal friends.  The old tricks were no longer working—suddenly she was the magician on stage pulling rabbits out of a hat only people could see all the hidden mechanisms designed to sell the illusion and people were laughing at her, not mystified by her acts of illusion.  People could see someone off stage handing her the rabbit under a table and she was exposed trying to sell the trick as majestic when it was at that point just a clown car scheme gone bad. Hillary played as much as anybody at exposing all the back-stage secrets of the magic show and now the American public was aware of everything and it wasn’t working.  Only really stupid people were willing to continue accepting the illusion.  But people with half a brain were laughing at her and moving on politically.

Getting rid of Fox News of course won’t put the skirt back around the table to hide the assistant hiding the rabbit for Hilary’s hat trick. As polling showed yesterday, if the election were held now—100 days into the Trump White House—Hillary would lose worse than she did in November.  And Elizabeth Warren will fair far worse when she is matched up against Trump in 2020.  Those people on that side of politics have no idea what country they are in or what Americans thank about things—they just have their ideology and hope that if they avoid looking too deeply at things that they can continue the illusion of the magic show to their base of stupid malcontents.  They think that Bruce Jenner dressed in drag will replace Bill O’Reilly because honestly they never really understood the simple brilliance of the Talking Points Memo and why nobody in news has been able to duplicate it’s success even after 20 years of trying.

The great American novel Atlas Shrugged dealt with this whole second-hander notion that is now destroying Fox News—a half a century ago.  It’s no mystery—just like any right-minded person knows that rabbits don’t just come out of an empty hat.  At some point you have to suspend your rationality to accept that magic tricks are actually more than just an illusion, and the political left are masters of tricking themselves into believing that everything they see is real. But the magic tricks have been exposed by the left and next generation second-handers like Murdoch’s spoiled brat children don’t understand how things really work—because they are afraid of the work involved in the process.  They are used to sitting in the audience, not working the stage—so they think they can put anything up—and people will be entertained.  But there is a huge difference between David Blaine and some street hustler just doing card tricks.  The news as it has evolved over time is all about selling the magic tricks of the political left and a lot of people—(half the country) are tired of it.  So they want a throwback to an old dinosaur that tells things with as little spin as possible—to just stand on the stage and tell us the news without the rabbit tricks and the empty hat on top of a table covered with a cloth designed to conceal the rabbit hidden underneath.  American society is more sophisticated now, and those old tricks just aren’t working.

And people want more than a freak show on Fox News.  They can get Bruce Jenner anywhere, MTV, E News, ABC, CBS, NBC—everywhere.  But people tune into Fox to step beyond the magic show.  And if they can’t get it there they’ll turn to the Bill O’Reilly podcast like I did and forget about Fox News all together. People aren’t as dumb as the Murdoch boys think and if they don’t know what they are doing—which they obviously don’t—they need to get back into the audience and let people who know what’s going on run the show again.  Because they are really screwing things up.  No skin off my back, but Fox News won’t just run itself.  If that network dies, something else will take its place.  But what their dad built will be lost forever—and I’m sure that’s not their intention.

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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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

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The Betrayal of Kirsten Powers: A grim reality surrounding all the women accusing Bill O’Reilly of sexual harassment

I always knew while watching The O’Reilly Factor that Kirsten Powers was bad news.  As a liberal political pundit from USA Today Bill O’Reilly put her on constantly and I often wondered if Bill put up with her because she was having occasional sex with him.  Otherwise, who would put up with that terrible mouth of hers, obviously not her husband whom she was only married to for a short time from 2010 to 2013.  Putting her on Fox News almost every night was dangerous in my opinion and given the way she piled on disrespectfully as Bill O’Reilly was pulled off the air at Fox during an Anderson Cooper interview—my instincts were certainly correct.  She sounded like a train wreck and her motives were clearly exposed.  What I saw speaking to Anderson Cooper was a spiteful woman who was in her middle years and not so cute any more that had pushed away everything good in her life—including Bill O’Reilly and she was resentful.  Ultimately that was the cost of trying to be fair and balanced on Fox—you put on spiteful, aging pundits who want to suddenly make a living without the aid of their youthful beauty—and they are scared.

And the same could be said of the several women who accused Bill O’Reilly and specifically Fox News for sexual harassment. Egged on by Media Matters behind the scenes and many liberal activists—the women took every opportunity to swipe at the older generation men who ran Fox News in an effort to make the place more progressive—and ultimately more like the other loser networks in competition—overly concerned with silly PC culture and modern nonsense that will be out of fashion with the very next generation.  What you find at the bottom of the complaints are a bunch of women who were fine to make good livings off their looks—but now that they are arriving at those middle ages where estrogen doesn’t come so naturally and skin wrinkles don’t look so good on 4K 70” televisions—a new generation of younger women doing just as they did twenty years ago is coming along and pushing them out of a job—and women like Kirsten call that “sexual harassment.”  I call it getting old.

If you peel the onion away that’s all that is really going on with the sexual harassment claims against Fox News. The women used their looks to get into the doors at Fox then they changed the rules of engagement mystifying the older men who came from a time when you could call women “blonds” even when they artificially dyed their hair to increase their supernormal sign stimuli to evoke the image.  The women’s complaints against O’Reilly and Fox News specifically are only defined by Obama era politics as harassment, when at any time prior or likely in the future will be considered normal human interaction.  The real hope of liberal ladies like Kirsten Powers is to stay relevant into her 50s so people will still want to listen to her without the visual quality behind someone who might lure men to sleep with them for attention.  Because lets face it, that was the only reason Bill put her on Fox News.  Whether or not he had occasional sex with any of these women it was important for the audience to wonder about such things because that’s what drove the ratings.  Nobody wanted to hear what Kirsten had to say from a fair and balanced point of view.  They wanted to think about what she looked like naked and in suggestive sexual positions.  Surely Kirsten understood that when she came on The O’Reilly Factor many times.

Women watch The View during the day, and other shows geared toward women—and that’s the only way that garbage heaps like Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar can make it in modern television—by bitching and squawking like a bunch of hungry baby birds that were knocked out of their nest during a heavy storm. People feel sorry for them, the might actually listen—but they aren’t going to change their behavior patterns—they’ll just watch.  Yet to the wider audience which might include men—there is no appeal.  Men and women are still and will always be—men and women.  Men biologically want to have sex with women and women will always look for ways to make their assets work to their advantage.  And that only works for them pre-menopausal.  After that, they become spectators in the games of life.  That may seem vicious, but take it up with God, because it’s the design of the universe.

Even knowing all this however it was shocking to hear Kirsten speak out so blatantly against Bill O’Reilly. I watched her so many times come on his show and eat out of his hand all the while I knew she was a nasty person waiting for a moment to strike like a snake. I used to tell my wife anytime she appeared that she reminded me of spit—because that’s just what she reminded me of.  The way she spoke, the way she made eye contact—her politics—virtually everything about her evoked something you’d want to spit out of your mouth—not put in it.  It actually made me trust O’Reilly less because he had her on so much.  I figured he was either having sex with her, or wanted to.  But so what?  Kirsten got exposure she never would have otherwise obtained—which she’ll never get again and she should be grateful.

In the demise of Fox News, these women accusers had some air time on all the major networks rejoicing that their rival had one of its major stars knocked off a prime time slot. But those same women have labeled themselves for life as a pain in the ass so we won’t see them again.  Kirsten is certainly done.  She might be praised now, but she’s still a woman approaching 50 who won’t be desired to be on television.  She may still write for USA Today for a while, but nobody is going to want to see her face or hear that terrible noise that comes out of her liberal mouth.  Because people tune into Fox not to see O’Reilly, or the hot chicks he had on as pundits—they are just visual icing for the cake.  They want conservative viewpoints on the news of the day.  Anybody else can come along and do the same job and if Fox moves into an even more progressive direction—some upstart will take over what they do now—because ultimately the audience is in charge—not the networks.  And nothing in the world can make people tune into a show they don’t want to watch to see a wrinkled up Kirsten Powers utter liberal nonsense.  They might put up with it to have her flirt with them as a youthful woman—but not as a serious political commentator.  There are plenty of ugly people who already do that work—one more used up old woman won’t change the conditions of the marketplace.

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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The Value in Judging Other People: How a McDonald’s employee prevented murder

 

Steve Stevens, the cold-blooded murderer from Cleveland who killed an innocent man on Easter Sunday claiming to be emotionally deficient after breaking up with his girlfriend was in Erie, Pennsylvania ordering a 20 piece chicken nugget meal at McDonald’s. There a drive-thru employee spotted Stevens and after taking his money notified police.  The McDonald’s staff tried to stall the killer at the pick-up window, but the fugitive knew something was up and fled the scene without his French Fries.  Police were quick to get there and give chase leaving Stevens with no choice but to take his own life, just as the inmate murderer Aaron Hernandez just did hours after. When the law painted these thugs into a corner where there was no other option left to them—they simply killed themselves—which is a good thing.  The former professional football player facing life in prison hung himself knowing that his life was ruined forever for the murders he committed, and this Steve Stevens guy knew that the Facebook testimony he gave would see him convicted of murder for sure—so he shot himself in his car before authorities could arrest him.  The whole event was set off by a McDonald’s employee who was keenly aware of what was happening in the world.   Bravo.

http://www.abc15.com/news/national/mcdonalds-employee-recognized-steve-stephens-as-he-was-ordering-at-drive-thru

And that is really how crime is fought—by individuals doing the good work of observing their environments and taking action when necessary. Luckily in this case the citizen action didn’t require guns, but sometimes it may.  However by having eyes and ears on the ground level, police were able to pin down Stevens and force him to take his own life—which makes everyone happy.  Our society saves the money of prosecuting the loser, and further killings were avoided as this guy was obviously spiraling downhill fast.  If Stevens hadn’t been arrogant enough to go through a McDonald’s drive thru, there is no telling how long the ordeal would have transpired.  And in this case it was a slam dunk of a case—but if he had to be prosecuted the cost would have been enormous to the state of Ohio—and the media frenzy would have been very distracting.  Things are much better this way—with him killing himself.

The Aaron Hernandez case was never in question, yet it took the former Patriots tight-end turned murderer years to move through all the legal gates to arrive at his sentencing and eventual fate in a single cell prison. Once there and all the means of appeal exhausted, he had no other choice but to kill himself, which if he had done so sooner would have helped everyone out.  Hernandez committed a horrific crime, and there was no question of his guilt during the trail—and we could have all saved a lot of money if we had removed the hope he had of getting away with it.  If he had committed suicide years ago the entire legal profession would have been less strained.  But here’s the problem, there are so many parasites who work in the legal profession that make a lot of money off long celebrity trials like Aaron Hernandez’s case—that justice is not the objective—milking the crime for all that can be obtained is.

If this Facebook killer—Steve Stevens had been arrested, the same kind of long legal proceeding would have occurred—it would have taken years to get that guy in jail convicted for life. And if he turned out to be a death penalty case—he would have cost the state of Ohio many millions of dollars of maintenance for the next twenty years until the justice system could finally enact the penalty. But when the threat of quick justice is present it certainly puts pressure on fugitives from justice to either escape or to kill themselves before someone else beats them to it.  So without that McDonald’s employee’s sharp eyes, this terrible ordeal would have prolonged for many more years unnecessarily.

Citizen action is paramount to our free republic. Without it, we cannot have justice in the world.  You have to engage suspicious people and to always question intentions.  This of course goes against the progressive tendency against passing judgment on other people.  It is in fact our ability to judge that makes us a civilized nation.  For instance, if that McDonald’s employee had not judged that the drive-thru customer handing her money might be the killer of the elderly person from Cleveland on Easter Sunday, the killer would have driven away and he’d still be free to terrorize people.  But that’s not what happened.  The McDonald’s employee passed judgment on the physical features of Steve Stevens, the kind of car he was driving, the manner of his voice, the amount of eye contact that he made—and she acted accordingly.  That is the first line of defense in our society—judgment.  And when we pass judgment on bad guys, they often don’t expect to deal with civilians as part of their antagonism, or their escape plans.  It is absolutely true that a well-armed population in America prevents many lunatics like this Steve Stevens murderer from stepping into a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere and doing what they desire unimpeded.  There is no way that America as a vast rural landscape could ever hope that the police might defend each and every person.  Just like with all the police, FBI, and CIA that are out there spying on us constantly with input from the NSA and Homeland security, they can’t prevent us from harm.  They can discourage bad guys from doing bad things, but when people like Steve Stevens or Aaron Hernandez who realize that if they wanted to, they could pluck off a large part of society on a whim and nobody could do anything about it.  When people get involved and the bad guys are put on television complete with social judgment against them—there is no place for such people to go—not even a McDonald’s in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Villains depend on people to be terrified of them and to rely on the inefficient “state” to evoke justice. They also require that good people hide their thoughts from the court of public opinion so that progressive insurgents can hopefully get them off the hook when they do commit crime—which was the hope of Aaron Hernandez.  Once his fate was eventually sealed and he had to admit to himself that he was no O.J. Simpson—and that he was going to do hard time for the rest of his life—he killed himself—and for that we are all better off.  Steve Stevens was at least smart enough to know that the legal system would chew him up and spit him out because of the vast testimony he provided against himself—himself. The reason that statists and criminals alike push for society not to “judge” is so that they can roam about unmolested harming anybody they wish whenever they wish.  That’s also why those same people are against personal ownership of firearms.  However, when each and every citizen in the United States has the right to a firearm—and the power of judgment between right and wrong in their arsenal of living—they are very dangerous to bad guys.  And even a worker at McDonald’s can be a hero with just their judgment as their weapon and the courage to act on instinct.  That is how justice is enacted in the most efficient way possible.  People need to be involved, personally.  The cops are there to build a case.  They can’t always be there to prevent harm from happening and that must be understood in any civil society.  You can’t drive evil from the world with good intentions and a progressive education.  You need guns and people who are able to judge good from evil.

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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What Causes Factories to Die: The benefit of a good work ethic

Something strange occurred while my wife and I were trying to get to the Kings Island Gold Pass preview night last Friday night. Back in my twenties when we lived in Mason I worked at several of the area manufacturing opportunities, but since moving back to Liberty Township, we really only come back to the area to visit the Fields Ertle shopping district, or to go to Kings Island.   But because the traffic was so terrible at Kings Island that night I had to take a bunch of side roads to escape and return home because there was no way of getting into the amusement park because it was obviously saturated with people trying to get in on a beautiful Friday spring night.  That brought me out on Route 42 by the Huston Restaurant then across the street to a little road that would take me back into Liberty Township along the Mitsubishi Plant. It was there that I saw that a large manufacturing plant that I had spent a lot of time in was up for sale, and that shocked me—even through Worthington Custom Plastics had sold off their automotive division way back in 1999.  It was just at that moment 18 years later that I had driven by that building once again—and that place was something I could have never imagined seeing empty.

We were in our late twenties and in need of a lot of money as we were raising children. My wife was homeschooling our children mostly.  They did attend Mason schools back then, but we didn’t like the job they were doing, so she took care of most of the deprogramming as a house wife.  I fully supported that kind of thing, but on the weekends to make extra money we had two Door Store routes that we delivered—which was a kind of coupon newspaper that we delivered door to door.  We’d pick up the papers on Friday night then spend the weekend rolling them into plastic bags which we delivered on Saturday nights and Sunday mornings.  That job alone took up most of our weekend together and was a lot of hard work.  But it was an independent way to make the money we needed. But that wasn’t our main income—it was my job at Worthington Custom Plastics that was.  I worked there an astonishing 16 hours per day through the weekdays and every single weekend from 4 PM to midnight.  Most of my work there was on overtime and I worked on the big projects, particularly the Corvette facias which were made completely with injected plastic at that Mason facility.  From there they went to the Bowling Green Corvette manufacturing facility for installation and I sometimes had to go there for quality audits.  I was very busy and I was making a lot of money doing something that was very important—and my wife and I were literally working every minute of our lives on something.  When I hear kids complaining about being overworked these days with a 50 hour work week I look at them like they are social rejects because honestly, we worked much harder and still enjoyed our lives.  So they have nothing to complain about.

The only time that Worthington facility shut down and we turned off the lights was for Thanksgiving and Christmas. All other times of the year that big plant ran all around the clock all week long.  Now I knew what was coming even back then.  They were paying me enormous amounts of money to do general manufacturing work which was cutting into their margins big time. Good workers were hard to find, so they let me work all I wanted.  But in business, that is throwing good money into bad practices and it eventually caught up with them.  Within a few years of my employment there they announced that they were selling their automotive division.  But by then I had obtained a job at Cincinnati Milacron working on precision machines and I never looked back at Worthington—or what had become of them.  Even though we go as a family to Kings Island all the time which is very near Worthington’s old plant, I never drove by it—but around it except for that nice spring day in 2017.  It was strange to see that old vibrant place completely dead and for sale.  Something which had provided so many jobs to so many people was just sitting there a dead plant.

Most people go to their jobs and do their work never really thinking of what it takes to make a business work, or how close to the precipice of becoming extinct their jobs really are. They complain around the water cooler about their bosses and everyone thinks they can do a better job.  But they never do, they never get involved in the management side of things and if things go bad, they simply get another job.  I was never like that.  I always wanted to help management be successful—even when I was too young to be taken seriously.  And I really wanted Worthington Custom Plastics to succeed and I felt it could if only I worked harder—which was always in the back of my mind.  Part of the reason I left was that it had the feeling that it was going to run itself into the ground—even though when I did go to Milicron it seemed like that would never happen. The place was just too busy.  But a business cannot operate at negative margins for long, and employees should appreciate the health of whatever company they are working for so to prevent such things from happening to them in the future.

These days it’s my job to make sure that a company doesn’t find themselves in the same fate as Worthington. Even though I say the same things that I’ve always said, now I’m old enough that people actually listen—and they are better off for it.  But seeing a big vibrant company like the one I worked at in my twenties gone the way it was, reminded me of how close almost every company out there really is toward their own extinction.  A good healthy company is something everyone should strive for even if you are an employee that only pushes a broom.  Good jobs should never be taken for granted.  I worked at Worthington doing 96 hours per week for two years.  One the weekends my wife and I delivered Door Stores an additional 20 hours per week.  On a typical Saturday I got off at midnight from Worthington and my wife and I delivered Door Stores until 4 AM.  We rewarded ourselves with White Castles from Fields Ertle Road.  We got up at 8 AM then did our walking route through downtown Mason until 2 PM.  We’d grab lunch then I went to work at 4 PM—and that was my weekend.  During the week, it was 16 straight, go home, take a shower, sleep, then I’d go back.  And I did that for two straight years without complaint.  Later the same year that I moved to Milicron we got dinged by the IRS for not paying enough self-employment tax on our Door Store route.  So to pay off our taxes I took a night job at Wendy’s by Kings Island and I worked there for another three years to pay off our tax burden to the IRS while working 60 hours a week at Cincinnati Milicron.

It is just something to consider when you are working somewhere that you should do everything you can to keep that company alive—and not take it for granted that it will always be there. Places of business are like living beings, they have to be fed and maintained in a healthy fashion, otherwise they die.  And it was sad to see Worthington Custom Plastics in Mason dead.  But it was.

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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