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Monday, April 25, 2011
Atlas is shrugging this tax day
As government continues to prosecute financial success, the economy is slowly stagnating, and entrepreneurship is disappearing.

What happens when the world’s entrepreneurs have had enough and call it quits? What happens when the wheels of the economy finally stop?

Fifty years ago, Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” dramatized such a world, becoming an instant classic with free marketeers and proponents of limited government.

Because the once-fictional events of “Atlas Shrugged” look alarmingly similar to today’s headlines, there is no better time for an Ayn Rand renaissance. Rand’s masterpiece has finally been adapted to film, and is now teaching a new generation of fans “Who is John Galt?”

Edwards Theater in Santa Maria is one of the first locations chosen to be play the film. Over the last week, local moviegoers have beeen witness to something virtually unseen in a major film in close to 40 years — a movie in which businessmen are the heroes, and not de facto villains.

If you haven’t seen it yet, this rarity alone may not be enough to send you running for your popcorn salt, but when you realize the impact such unabashed advocacy of conservative principles can have in the popular culture, and just how rarely this actually happens, you’ll be dragging your family by the earlobes to the nearest box office.

Many conservatives fail to understand the power popular culture plays in reflecting and shaping our national identity. Our culture is not found etched in marble or inked on parchment. It is projected on celluloid.

For a more than a century, Americans have crowded into dark rooms to watch our mythos flicker across the silver screen. In generations past, the stories told were reflections of our common values, like family, honor and responsibility.

But over the last four decades, that mythology has taken a dramatic lurch from a reflection of our values into a projection of nihilism, class warfare, shattered families and a belief that America, once the hope of the world, is now its greatest problem.

That vision of a fallen America is now the narrative absorbed by millions here and abroad. Thanks to films like “Platoon” and “Apocalypse Now,” entire generations have grown up believing the Vietnam War was waged by drug-addled sociopaths, angry for being stranded in a war in a country they didn’t belong in, by corrupt, stupid officers content to let young men be fed into an endless meat grinder.

Movies like “Che” promote a whitewashed Che Guevara, who is no longer the despotic egomaniacal Communist who butchered his way through Latin America. He’s now a simple egalitarian hero of the people to be put beside traditional American heroes like George Washington.

These themes are often as flimsy as the celluloid they are printed on, but instead of debunking these increasingly generic narratives from a caricaturish caste of elitist celebrities, we did the exact opposite. We threw up our arms in exasperation and surrendered. Now, without a choice, guess which side our children are listening to?

We’ve enjoyed some success in winning back the narrative from the left in recent years, but it cannot be won for long, if millions of young Americans are taught to hate those same institutions we are working to restore.

If we want a shot at saving our posterity, we must engage in the war for our culture again, and that means getting into that theater.

It’s not only about supporting conservative filmmakers, though they do deserve that. It’s about making sure our kids get to see our vision of America. I think you’ll find they’ll like it.

Robert Jeffers is with the Central Coast Freedom Rallies. For more info, contact freedomrallies@gmail.com

Posted at 10:20 AM By admin | Permalink | Email this Post | Comments (0)



Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Who is John Galt?

By Mike Gorbell
Exclusive to California Chronicle

Who is John Galt? The hero of Ayn Rand’s fictional magnum opus might just become the worst nightmare of Barack Obama, John Reid, Nancy Pelosi and their secular progressive fellow travelers. Unless, of course, the Hollywood establishment succeeds in their considerable effort to keep viewers from going to see Atlas Shrugged, Part I, currently in limited release throughout the United States. After keeping Shrugged out of production for more than 40 years, Tinsel Town’s critical campaign to dissuade viewers from seeing the film at their local theaters got underway even as the movie began production. It continued into this opening weekend, where the elite critics panned a movie that cost $10 million to make and grossed $1.7 million on its first weekend even though, as a limited release, it was only being shown in some 300 theaters nationwide. The major complaint by those who have been steadily slamming it for four months is, ironically, that Rand’s novel of Objectivism should’ve cost more to make.
 
This time, though, Hollywood’s resistance at every turn to the team of independent filmmakers at Strike Productions didn’t stop at least the first part of Atlas Shrugged from making it to a handful of theater screens last weekend. If the reaction of viewers in Santa Barbara, coincidentally the heart of secular progressivism on the Central Coast, is any indication, Strike Productions may well get financing for Shrugged parts II and III in short order. And that, as anyone who suffered through analyzing the original, published version of Atlas Shrugged  in Philosophy 101 can attest, may well be a problem for those who believe that the nation’s creators of jobs should be taxed more heavily so that those who choose not to work can be “fairly” compensated for their lack of industry.
 
Exposition of the currently popular buzzword “fair” as a code word for wealth redistribution from the able to the supposedly needy is a key theme of the movie, as it is in the book. As politicians in Shrugged’s fictional American society of the not so distant future seek to make civilization more and more “fair,” increasing amounts of income are accordingly and arbitrarily seized from those who work and create jobs and given to those who don’t in return for the reliable vote of the latter. The economy becomes increasingly untenable as those in the former group tire of working for nothing and drop out of society. Sound familiar?
 
I won’t spoil the movie as I encourage you to see it for yourself, but I will let you in on a little secret of my own. If I chose to misuse the skills that I acquired as an intelligence officer, I could live a relatively comfortable life producing nothing and essentially being a drag on our economy and its capitalist system. But I don’t make that choice.
 
Rather, I choose to engage in a business where my labor produces income and creates jobs. And I choose a business that helps and encourages other producers in our society and our economy to passionately pursue their goals and dreams for the benefit of themselves and their families, creating yet more jobs. All of those who are working in these businesses pay taxes, thus lessening the tax burden on all of us.
 
I thought that this was what America was all about. But ever since Barack Obama lectured Joe the Plumber on how Joe’s sense of charity wasn’t to be trusted, how seizing enough of Joe’s earnings so that Joe couldn’t start his own business and hire employees, then redistributing Joe’s earnings to the people, both here and abroad, that the government felt in “fairness” needed the fruits of Joe’s labor more than Joe and his family, I’m not quite so sure. The economic and fiscal performance of the first two years of the Obama administration and Democratic majorities in the Senate and (until recently) the House haven’t made me any more sanguine that my government knows how to spend my money more efficiently and effectively that I do.
 
Atlas Shrugged, Part I lays all of this out compellingly on the big screen. For some, the message will be, “I told you so.” For others, Shrugged may well be a wakeup call. For those who look forward to that day when American society has fewer taxpayers than tax takers, though, it may just be the beginning of a 19 month nightmare.

Mike Gorbell is a retired Senior Intelligence Service officer of the Central Intelligence Agency. He is currently a financial advisor and business affairs consultant on California’s Central Coast.
Posted at 06:11 AM By admin | Permalink | Email this Post | Comments (0)



Tuesday, April 12, 2011
The Plight of the American Economy
The Wall Street Journal featured the plight of the American economy with respect to a unique and devastating trend and that is the growth of jobs in the government sector versus the decline of good paying jobs in the private sector.  Specifically, there are now twice as many Americans working for the government than in all of manufacturing.  Further, an economist noted that the new jobs being created in America are low paying service sector jobs while new jobs being created in China are relatively high paying manufacturing jobs.  Americans are thus becoming “downwardly mobile” while the Chinese are becoming “upwardly mobile”, at our expense mind you. 
 
How is that the once greatest industrial nation in the history of the world now has more Americans working for the government than in construction, farming, fishing, forestry, manufacturing, mining and utilities combined?  In two words, the answer is regulations and environmental activism.  In CA, the answer is somewhat shorter, because the regulators and the environmental activists are one in the same!
 
The unattainable and prohibitively expensive goal of regulators and environmental activists is zero impact and zero effect upon the environment with respect to anything we produce or do.  In other words, they have been pushing towards a no impact standard with respect to land, air, water and anything else they consider a resource, including views.
 
The most pressing current example will occur on May 4, when local farmers are going to return for hearings before the Regional Water Board in San Luis Obispo in order to address regulations that would require water running off a field to be captured and treated before it goes into a ditch!  The standard is impossible to meet and will eventually decimate the industry, and thereby threaten our domestic supply of fruits and vegetables.  Because these commodities represent leading sectors of our economy, the ripple effect will be devastating.  But who cares?
 
In a larger context, who cares about the rust belt?  Who cares that we basically no longer manufacture steel in America?  Who cares that major portions of cities like Detroit are being bulldozed because the town hemorrhaged so many jobs that a major percentage of the population left their homes behind?  Who cares about our energy supply?   Who cares that we no longer build dams, nuclear power plants, oil and gas refineries, in order to furnish our nation with a stable energy supply that works when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing?  Who cares that Barack Obama finally did make a speech proclaiming his support of “Drill here, Drill now, Baby” but it was in Brazil?
 
Who cares that we are no longer allowed to protect our homes, property, farm fields and public infrastructure from flooding because of environmental constraints which prohibit employing low cost, age-old solutions to perennial flood threats?  Who cares if people’s homes burn down because we can no longer clear brush by bulldozer or prescribed burns?
 
Another example, consider the fact that the Environmental Defense Center (EDC) requested their supporters to lobby the Board of Supervisors for a brushing ordinance revision.  The implications from fire dangers arising from their request to protect brush in the back country is mind boggling, as many local forms of chaparral burn hotter than gasoline in a fire because of the “oil” content in the plant.  But, what is worse, is that two people who responded to their request to lobby our county supervisors work for two State regulatory agencies, the California Coastal Commission and the State Fish and Game department.  How do I know?  They responded to the EDC action alert from their State government email accounts! 
 
Andy Caldwell is the Executive Director of COLAB and a 43 year resident of the Central Coast.  For contact information, visit the COLAB website at www.colabsbc.org
Posted at 13:12 PM By admin | Permalink | Email this Post | Comments (0)



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