J. Neil Schulman @jneilschulman
Edward Snowden is mistaken. He did not break the law because unconstitutional acts or policies are void ab initio.
Snowden needs immunity to testify against his superiors who engaged in criminal violations of the American people’s constitutional rights.
The American people need not fear that opposing the government will lead to either anarchy or tyranny. We did this already and remember.
If you’re an American fearing for our country it’s time to re-read our founding document: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html
If you’re an American needing to decide between the government and Edward Snowden read our Bill of Rights: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights_transcript.html …
Free Edward Snowden
This one is too long to begin on Twitter.
The United States of America was founded by revolutionaries. They were different from any revolutionaries that came after them — not as vengeful or bloodthirsty as the French revolutionaries that overthrew their monarchy only a few years later; not guided by junk economics as were the revolutionaries in Russia in 1917 nor those Marxist revolutionaries that followed in China, Cuba, Vietnam, and elsewhere; not the deluded revolutionaries that pledged absolute loyalty to the mad Adolf Hitler and his legions of human demons.
The American Revolution, despite its failures, was the only one based on the principle of the sanctity of the individual human life. It makes all the difference in the world.
We are faced today with government that abuses the people’s rights and liberties, makes promises it is inherently incapable of keeping, and which exercises despotic powers never granted to them by any fundamental document.
The founders attempted to provide safeguards for the people’s individual rights and liberties. Those have degraded over the centuries. One can look back and find the reasons why this experiment in republican government failed — the seeds of these failures were not a secret even at the time of the founding: slavery at the top of the list, subjugation of women following closely — willingness to abandon principle for utilitarian perceptions of advantage providing a centuries-long slippery slope — and finally counterrevolution by those who worship only empire and wealth.
The people’s house — Congress — was supposed to make sure bureaucracy did not make law. They failed.
The federal courts were supposed to keep government within its enumerated powers and protect the people’s rights. They failed.
The executive branch — the Presidency — was supposed to act only to protect the people’s individual rights and liberties. They instead substituted security and safety nets for liberty and violated the very job description to which they pledged their oaths.
This is not the first time on this continent that government has failed the people. The British monarch and parliament were once the government over the colonists — and when the people decided their rights were being trampled by their own government, they declared an intention not to allow that to continue.
John Trumbull’s painting, Declaration of Independence
The specifics of despotism do overlap with the causes stated in the Declaration of Independence but there are grievances that differ from those of 1776. The specifics aren’t as important as the same pattern of abuse.
I am a libertarian pledged to the Zero Aggression Principle and even in defense I do not advocate violence as the needful strategy to re-secure our liberties. I advocate non-compliance with evil laws and building resilient new institutions that can survive violent attacks by those despots who claim legitimacy drawn from founding documents they ignore and betray. No power not derived from those documents has moral authority and no power even based on a compact made by the dead can bind the living when the result is legalized murder, robbery, and replacement of decency with dictate.
Do not fear for the future of the American Dream. Though Americans have struggled over and over again to fulfill the promise of our founding principles, those principles are the universal Rights which those of conscious mind and right of independent action derive from our common nature — however that nature came to exist.
We have stood up against tyrants, criminals, and bullies for a long time now. Anyone who thinks we’ve forgotten — and some of us have — need to realize how simple and quick it is to remind the next generation the legacy left in their care … and why nothing they seek will make them happy if their liberty isn’t preserved first.
–J. Neil Schulman
Alongside Night star and executive producer, Kevin Sorbo, talks with Hot Air talk show host Ed Morrissey about Alongside Night.
“This is a movie that hopefully will wake up a few people. Once again I hope it’s not just preaching to the choir. I hope people go there and try to have an open mind and look at it and have a discussion open up after they do it.”
Alongside Night star and executive producer, Kevin Sorbo
The Ed Morrissey Show, May 22, 2014
Kevin Sorbo on Ed Morrissey Show
The “Low Budget” Alongside Night Movie has:
Executive Producer and star Kevin Sorbo, (“Dr. Martin Vreeland”) star of the #1 worldwide TV series for seven years, Hercules the Legendary Journeys; star of Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda (five-year-run and #1 in first-run syndications); star of the 2014 opening week #3 domestic box office movie hit (top 5 for 6 weeks and top 10 for 9 weeks and still in theaters at 11 weeks), God’s Not Dead; and real-life wife, actress, talk-show-host & author, Sam Sorbo, as Dr. Vreeland’s wife, Cathryn Vreeland.
Jake Busey (“President Charles Crane”), star of Contact opposite Jodie Foster and star of Starship Troopers opposite Neil Patrick Harris.
Said Faraj (“FEMA Agent Sam Shalhoub”) previous film appearance opposite Matt Damon in Green Zone; The Seige; Ghost; TV includes NCIS: Los Angeles, 24.
Tim Russ (“General Jack Guerdon”), previous film appearances in Live Free or Die Hard opposite Bruce Willis, Spaceballs opposite Mel Brooks; Star Trek: Generations; on TV star of Star Trek: Voyager (“Tuvok”) and Samantha Who? opposite Christina Applegate.
Garrett Wang (“Major Benjamin Franklin Chin”) Star Trek: Voyager (“Ensign Harry Kim”)
Gary Graham (“FEMA Director Lawrence Powers”) previously starring as Detective Matthew Sikes in five Fox Network TV films Alien Nation: The Udara Legacy; Alien Nation: The Enemy Within; Alien Nation: Millennium; Alien Nation: Body and Soul; Alien Nation: Dark Horizon; and Fox TV series, Alien Nation; Star Trek Enterprise (“Ambassador Soval”); plus episodes of numerous other network series.
Mara Marini (“Sgt. Eve Kropotkin AKA ‘Candy’”) previous film Lady Magdalene’s (“Nurse Gretchen”) opposite Nichelle Nichols; recurring on Parks & Recreation as “Brandi Maxxxx” opposite Amy Poehler and Rob Lowe.
Valence Thomas (“Major Benjamin Harper AKA ‘The Tzigane’”) Men in Black 3; Notorious; Cadillac Records; TV appearances include Blue Bloods and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Appearing as themselves: Dr. Ron Paul; Adam Kokesh; Jordan Page; Dr. David D. Friedman as the King of Sweden
Produced, Written, and Directed by J. Neil Schulman, author of 12 books with endorsements from Nobel-laureate Milton Friedman, Anthony Burgess, Dr. Ron Paul, Glenn Beck, Michael Medved (Alongside Night, 1979); Charlton Heston, Dennis Prager (Stopping Power, 1994); Robert A. Heinlein, Colin Wilson, Gregory Benford, Michael Medved (The Rainbow Cadenza, 1983); David Brin, Colin Wilson (Escape from Heaven, 2002); screenwriter of 1986 CBS Twilight Zone episode “Profile in Silver”); producer/writer/director of 2008 triple- film-festival award-winning independent feature film Lady Magdalene’s starring Nichelle Nichols; Schulman’s articles and essays have appeared in magazines and newspapers including Reader’s Digest, National Review, the Los Angeles Times Book Review, the Los Angeles Times Op-Ed page, Cult Movies, Locus, Reason Magazine, Mondo Cult, Liberty, Prometheus, and OC Weekly. Not counting the many reviews of his books, Mr. Schulman has been written about in magazines and newspapers including USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Esquire, and the New York Times.
Musical film score by Daniel May with composing and performing credits in Saving Mr. Banks, Mr. Poppers Penguins, Midnight in Paris, Limitless, MacGruber, The Blind Side, Fast & Furious, Alvin and the Chipmunks, American Gangster, Borat, and many more feature films and TV series.
Film score recorded by the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine in Kiev, Ukraine, conducted by Daniel May.
CGI/VFX by Chris Dawson, previous film credits include Her, Green Lantern, The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Alice in Wonderland, Titanic, and many more feature films and TV series
CGI/VFX by Thomas R. Dickens, previous film credits include 300, The Dukes of Hazzard, The Spongebob Squarepants Movie, The Chronicles of Riddick, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone, Cast Away, Stargate, Army of Darkness and many more feature films and TV series
Aerial Cinematography Unit:
A helicopter and two-remote-control-drone aerial cinematography unit used for action sequences filmed at Front Sight, Nevada and rally sequence filmed at Clark County Regional Justice Center
Live Nighttime Las Vegas Chase Sequence:
A three-vehicle nighttime chase sequence on the live-traffic streets of Las Vegas, NV
Live Fire and Action Sequences:
Live-fire pistol, tunnel, climbing, rope, and commando action sequences filmed at Front Sight, Nevada and full-auto firing range sequence filmed at The Gun Store, Nevada
Real Las Vegas Public School location
Classroom sequence, hallways, office, and exteriors filmed at Las Vegas Academy using student actors from the acting and film programs
Real shopping mall location
Underground shopping center sequences filmed at closed-off section of Boulevard Mall, Las Vegas
Live outdoor rally sequence with aerial unit
A rally sequence with 200 extras and volunteers filmed at the Clark County Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas, NV
Fremont Street Experience live action sequence
Nighttime action sequence with dialogue and multiple extras filmed at Fremont Street Experience, Las Vegas, NV
Expansive Exteriors at Homeland Security Facility
“Al Gore /Utopia Prison” live vehicle and actor sequences filmed at the Southern Nevada Water Treatment Facility
Country Club used for Kevin Sorbo speech
Kevin Sorbo speech as Dr. Vreeland filmed at DragonRidge Country Club
Real bookstore used
Rabelais Bookstore sequence filmed at Dead Poets Books, Las Vegas
Organizations providing props, footage, and other promotional consideration include AntiWar.com, The Advocates for Self Government, The Heartland Institute, the Cato Institute, Reason.TV
Full credits and thanks at http://www.dujpepperman.com/jesulu/alongsidenight/AN_Credits.html
There is something inherently wrong with the armed forces that defend us. We now know the Veterans Administration ignored hundreds of sick veterans begging for medical care to the point where some, perhaps many, lingered and died while waiting for treatment in a rigged system. At the same time we know the Pentagon is knocking itself out to render special treatment for a homosexual/transexual private convicted under the Espionage Act — a traitor, not a whistleblower. Let’s review. Private Bradley Manning, now known as Chelsea Elizabeth Manning, is serving a 30-year sentence at Fort Leavenworth for making public more than 700,000 classified documents. He did this while serving as a low-level intelligence officer in Iraq. He also latched on to an Apache helicopter mission that resulted in civilian casualties. Manning passed on this mountain of explosive secrets to Wikileaks traitor Julian Assange and another fellow computer hacker who ultimately turned him into the feds. Considering time already spent in the brig Private Manning, who is diagnosed as suffering from gender dysphoria, will be eligible for parole in seven years. In the meantime he’s demanding transfer to a civilian prison so he can avail himself of hormone therapy, something the Army does not do. In fact, Army policy prohibits transgenders from serving. Figure that one out. The feckless Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, is bent on banishing this restriction and allowing transgenders in he Army so the public would be forced to pay for expensive transgender medical treatment, including sex-change operations. You might call this idea just one more iteration of Obamacare. Private Manning says he wants to live life as a woman from now on and the ever-willing left, along with their cohorts in the media, now refer to Private Manning as “her” and “she.” His legal name change is seen as enough reason to change his gender. He even posed for a picture wearing a blonde wig and lipstick. Policy makers for our military forces especially in the Army have created a public square to experiment with social change. Inevitably they have had to face the consequences of caving in to the latest fashion forced on them by liberal agendas. Private Manning’s story is that of a mentally disturbed young man with a history of trouble in and out of the Army whose ego led him to betray his country. Why must taxpayers indulge him?
–Liz Trotta, America’s News Headquarters Commentary, FNC, May 17, 2014
I’ve been aware for a long time that commentators on the Fox News Channel get away with the most extremely jingoistic, the most atavistic, the most bigoted opinions in weekend commentaries that would make even the average weekday Fox viewer cringe.
But the commentary quoted above from FNC’s Liz Trotta managed to surprise even me.
My friend, Brad Linaweaver, calls Fox News the Pentagon Channel because of all the 24-hour news channels Fox is the one that tends to support the agenda of those who find the Pentagon’s ungodly budget always too small, no projection of military force anywhere in the world too unattractive, and no invasion of privacy or restriction of liberty unnecessary. After seeing lively debates on Fox on all these subjects — often dragging in quasi-libertarians like Senator Rand Paul or in-house personalities like Bob Beckel or Kennedy to take the opposition — I’d have to say that Brad is being only slightly sardonic.
But unquestionably Fox, like much of the degraded talk-radio right today, has adopted the worst propaganda techniques that used to be the patented reserve of party-line Communists and World War II era Nazis. It’s a perfect storm of spinning half truths or facts presented in a misleading context, tunnel-vision ideology, and ad hominem slurs replacing reasoned discourse.
This was the technique perfected by Hitler’s propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, but for those not a student of history like Mr. Linaweaver, one needs go no further than the average anonymous Internet troll to find this level of vile attack.
In the above commentary Ms. Trotta manages to conflate the Department of Veterans Affairs — which does not treat active military — with the Army’s healthcare policies for active-duty military, and conflates both with the Affordable Care Act that addresses only civilian medical care.
Ms. Trotta manages to forget that homosexuals now serve openly in the U.S. military forces so a “feckless” Defense Secretary (who as an Army volunteer serving in combat earned two Purple Hearts) considering extending this policy to transgenders isn’t that much of a stretch.
But Ms. Trotta — in both managing to dismiss “gender dysphoria” as a treatable medical condition while simultaneously dismissing transgendering as a passing fashion — also does not know or chooses to ignore that as late as 1973 the American Psychiatric Association listed homosexuality in its official diagnostic manual as a mental illness.
Private Chelsea Manning formerly Specialist Bradley Manning
Visible on uniform: National Defense Service Medal,
Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal,
Army Service Ribbon, Army Overseas Service Ribbon,
10th Mountain Division Combat Service Identification Badge,
One Overseas Service Bar, One Service stripe
As recently as last year’s Libertopia conference I objected publicly to the pre-name-change Bradley Manning being referred to as “her” or “she.” My reason — ineloquently expressed in an inappropriately caustic tone of voice — was that I considered it an Orwellian demand to ignore the evidence of the senses and refer to a biological male using feminine pronouns. My objection was not to transgendering but that transgendering — actual gender reassignment of a biological male into a biological female capable of achieving a natural pregnancy — was not yet medically possible.
Stand a naked man and a naked woman up in front of a child. Ask the child to identify the gender of each. I think it would be a crime against the human mind to correct the child who sees a human being with male genitalia and demand that the child refer to that person as “she” or “her.”
But I was not a child when I made my angry remarks and I should have been capable of parsing the issues of gender reassignment without using as a rhetorical device a human being I consider a hero — Chelsea Manning.
Chelsea Manning is listed by that name in the Special Thanks of my movie, Alongside Night.
My own past mistakes aside, I regard that Liz Trotta’s objections to Chelsea Manning being referred to as “her” or “she” is unadulterated bigotry.
Trotta’s wrapping herself in the flag while attacking both a Vietnam-era Purple-Heart veteran and branding as a traitor and sexually slurring an Iraq War Army volunteer whose conscience led her to expose video of war crimes buried by being classified is vile.
Exercise of conscience in defense of justice, Ms. Trotta, is not exercise of ego. It’s an American value and should be a Fox News value.
Calling Private Manning a traitor is also a lie. Private Manning was never charged with treason, much less convicted of it.
Referring to Wikileaks editor, Julian Assange, as a traitor is worse than a lie. It’s moronic, inasmuch as Julian Assange is not and never has been an American.
I am revolted by supposedly “conservative” commentators like Liz Trotta who — if they’d been reporting events at the Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts April 19. 1775, would have commented that the Americans shooting at British military were traitors. What values does Liz Trotta wish to “conserve” — the mindless support for tyranny that this country fought a bloody revolution to end?
Respect for individual differences is an American value and should be a Fox News value, Ms. Trotta.
Belief in acting to achieve justice above robotic obedience to authority is an American value and should be a Fox News value, Ms. Trotta.
And respect for heroes who put themselves in harm’s way to protect you is an American value and should be a Fox News value, Ms. Trotta.
If Fox News wants to criticize the Army, let it be that the Army still disarms soldiers on base so they have to dial 911 for civilian police to defend them from crazy people shooting at them.
The right of human beings — much less Americans, much less the Army — to defend themselves against enemies shooting at them should also be a Fox News value, Ms. Trotta.
upon the world
I tell my tales
though spoken for
In hellish scenes
through heaven’s spore
I wish the best
But fear the worst
Can dreams survive
This manic burst?
I get the get
I got the got
It’s not the nought.
Hello old friends
Good bye to foes
God only knows.
Barack Obama spoke of teachable moments. Libertarians who imagine their beliefs can gain political traction have just had a teachable moment. It remains to be seen whether the lesson will be learned.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer Vetoes SB 1062
Arizona Senate Bill 1062 that Governor Brewer just vetoed purported to reverse that aspect of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which outlawed discrimination against persons a commercial business — such as for example, a lunch counter in a Woolworth’s in Greensboro, North Carolina — did not want to serve. The newer reasoning — this time not with blacks in its sights — was that if the Bible labelled homosexuality an abomination a believing Christian operating such a lunch counter could invoke religious belief as a legal excuse not to serve a same-sex couple.
This controversy comes up in weeks following the legal case of a wedding cake designer in Colorado who refused to craft a wedding cake for a same-sex couple — declining on religious grounds — who has now been court-ordered to make wedding cakes for all comers.
On the pages of The Libertarian Enterprise L. Neil Smith has written in an article titled The Auction Block Comes to Colorado that “It is precisely as if some judge tried to force me, a lifelong libertarian, to write essays in support of gun control or Marxism.”
Neil is correct. Once legal compulsion is established in principle to be used in compelling a private business to serve any customer regardless of the proprietor’s beliefs, ethics, or esthetics — any request for service where there is no right of refusal makes the proprietor a slave to the customer.
But here’s the other thing. Decent people who object to the right of refusal being invoked on the basis of various bigotries — skin color, ethnic origin, religion, or sexual preference — would rather live in a legal and political system that outlaws certain rights of refusal rather than working against such bigotry relying completely on the tortoise-slow uphill climb of argument, picketing, boycott, and writing novels, plays, and movies that combat bigotry with mind and heart.
Political involvement on behalf of an abstract principle of protecting a private right is a trap for libertarians, because when we invoke our standards on behalf of the scum of the earth we make ourselves the targets of decent outrage — and discredit our principles among those who see only short-term gain and not the long-term loss that undercutting principle enables.
The grandstanding statist always wins these arguments because principles are invisible and have no sex appeal.
If there’s a lesson here for the libertarian, it’s that principle is a black-market commodity. The State’s ripping away the right of discrimination makes discrimination piratical — but we must remember also to discriminate against scumbags — kick their miserable asses back to the State — when we practice our liberty in our clandestine agoras.
Since I got my Netflix subscription two months ago I’ve been immersing myself in documentaries. I’ve watched documentaries suggesting a partisan Republican agenda Rupert Murdoch allegedly has for Fox News (Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism), two documentaries on Sarah Palin — one pro, one con (The Undefeated, Sarah Palin: You Betcha!)– one looking at the late Andrew Breitbart (Hating Breitbart), one on Wikileaks (We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks), and — right now — one called The Billionaires’ Tea Party, suggesting that the Tea Party movement is “Astroturf” — recruiting dupes unknowingly to support the financial interests of the billionaire Koch brothers, Charles and David.
Photo from his vorpal sword
My old friend and mentor, Samuel Edward Konkin III, was hostile to the Koch brothers because they promoted the Libertarian Party, which Sam — an anti-political movementist — opposed. He invented the term “Kochtopus” to attack the Kochs for what he saw as their politicization of the anti-political libertarian movement, decades before segments of the American left decided on the Koch brothers as their nemesis.
I appreciate Sam’s reasons for purist anti-politics, but I never agreed with him that participation in politics as a form of harm-minimization is always counter-productive. I often cited Lysander Spooner’s arguments in No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority that participation in politics could be a form of self-defense, and later reversed the anti-political argument that ballots were just another form of bullets to argue that if I could carry a gun in self defense I could mark a ballot in self defense.
Sam and I used to have long discussions in which he would invoke the strategy of encouraging crisis as a form of catalyzing revolution, and Taylor Caldwell’s 1952 novel, The Devil’s Advocate, often came up in these discussions, since in that novel conscious acceleration of totalitarian controls beyond the rate a public could be convinced to accept is a conscious strategy of fomenting rebellion. I guess, compared to my old friend, I’m just a wuss when it comes to revolution. I want merely to convince people using sweet reason and exposing villainy, not manipulate people by fomenting outrage and fear. I want to shock the conscience, not the adrenal glands.
The Billionaires’ Tea Party, if accurate at all, shows Koch money being invested in many foundations, think tanks, and political action groups that would not have thrived or been as effective without their money. I can’t see how this is evil. I have never received a dime of Koch money yet I agree with them that the so-called scientific “consensus” that anthropogenic global warming is a worldwide crisis-in-making is a politically-cobbled megafraud at the level of Soviet Lamarckism or Nazi racial theories. So if Koch Oil is funding political opposition to this fraud because policies based on this horseshit impacts their business negatively, I agree with the Kochs not because they’re paying me to agree but because this poor artist thinks the oil billionaires are correct.
I wrote my novel, Alongside Night, in the 1970′s and it was published in 1979. The only financing I got from anyone other than my parents was a $300 gift from family friends, Herman and Molly Geller, which paid my Long Beach, California rent for the three months I needed to complete my first-draft manuscript. To the best of my knowledge the Gellers were communists — whether or not “card carrying” I never knew. But I do know that historically communists have supported novelists, musicians, and filmmakers a lot more than conservatives and libertarians. David Koch, who provided millions of dollars to refurbish New York City’s performing-arts mecca, Lincoln Center, is a high-profile exception.
Over the past three years I wrote, produced, and directed my feature-film adaptation of my novel Alongside Night and it’s now available for play in American movie theaters. The movie was mostly financed by Patrick A. Heller, an ideological libertarian who heads up Liberty Coin Service.
Before I ran into Pat Heller I separately asked both of the Koch brothers, Charles and David, for financing to make the movie; Charles ignored my email and David turned me down.
Neither has any of the institutions shown in a chart in The Billionaires’ Tea Party supported the production or so-far the distribution of my movie. I’ve sent out emails to Matt Kibbe at FreedomWorks and Joel Cheatwood at Glenn-Beck’s TheBlaze asking for strategic marketing partnerships between their organizations and my pro-liberty movie and I’ve been ignored. I’ve gotten nowhere with the Campaign for Liberty and its youth wing, Young Americans for Liberty; nor with Students for Liberty. I thought — and still think — that Alongside Night is uniquely focused in dramatizing a pro-freedom worldview that these organizations say they also hold, so the empty echoes of my own voice asking to join forces is surprising to me.
But then why do I also have to listen to voices to my left that class me with a right-wing that evidently wants nothing to do with me either?
Is being a truly anti-political libertarian so far off out of the Talking Points War between conservatives and liberals that there’s no place for my voice?
This is not a theoretical question for me. It’s a pressing matter of whether there is any organization out there that will embrace Alongside Night as a means of coalescing a vibrant libertarian movement in the future.
But in the meantime, at least know that if you think I made Alongside Night to advance a profit agenda of some oil billionaires, the oil billionaires aren’t having any of it.
My fellow libertarian friend, the multi-talented Brad Linaweaver, called me up today more upset than usual with one of his favorite pin cushions, Bill O’Reilly, host of the Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor, which — as Fox endlessly tells us — has dominated its time slot now for 14 years. On today’s show O’Reilly, a drug warrior nonpareil — managed to shock even fellow drug warrior Charles Krauthammer with his suggestions that if he, O’Reilly, were the Drug Czar there would be drug dealers hanging in the United States and drug addicts would be doing multi-year rehabs in Singapore style concentration camps.
I’ve written about O’Reilly before, in an article first published in the July 15, 2009 issue of The New Gun Week, and reprinted here, titled “A Shadow on the Second Amendment.”
In that article I wrote:
The Second Amendment movement just can’t tolerate a Bill O’Reilly who – knowing that Dr. Tiller had previously been shot at and his clinic bombed — repeatedly and editorially called George Tiller a “baby killer.” O’Reilly boasts The O’Reilly Factor has the highest ratings in cable/satellite television news. O’Reilly knew there are always psychotics waiting for a justification to commit mad violence and it was as foreseeable endlessly repeating “Tiller the Baby Killer” was inviting murder as it was for King Henry II’s infamous remark that led to the assassination of Thomas à Becket: “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?”
Brad and I agree that a homicidal habit of fantasizing or even encouraging people’s deaths should be a deal killer for a responsible network, regardless of how high Better Dead Lists drive a show’s ratings.
Nevertheless ratings are what drives commercial television so if Fox were finally to get weary of their high-rated sociopath, maybe there’s a TV star who just lost his job that might be a high-ratings replacement, himself. I wrote about this star in my previous article here.
Jay Leno / Bill O’Reilly
Last Thursday, February 6th, NBC’s number-one-late-night star — Tonight Show host Jay Leno — did his last show. As I previously wrote, with rare exception The Tonight Show with Jay Leno held first place in the 11:35 PM ET/PT late-night time slot ratings since 1995, winning the late-night war for NBC against competition such as David Letterman on CBS, Jimmy Kimmel on ABC, and currently syndicated reruns on Fox. At the time of his last Tonight Show Jay Leno was considered one of the top-five most popular TV stars.
A lot of people have speculated that after it sinks in with Jay that he’s not going to be happy tinkering around with his cars, and that club and Vegas gigs won’t satisfy his addiction to being a comedy star, he’s going to want a new TV show. They’ve suggested that Fox might be a new home for Leno.
They’re right, but it’s the wrong Fox.
Jay Leno has all the qualifications — plus a massive existing fan base who already miss him — to take over Bill O’Reilly’s time slot on the Fox News Channel.
Jay Leno is wittier than Bill O’Reilly. He’s as used to interviewing presidents, experts, and celebrities as Bill O’Reilly. He’s been a ratings king even longer than Bill O’Reilly. He’s a conservative populist like Bill O’Reilly acceptable to the Fox News older demographic. And — best of all — Jay’s not a bullying fascist like Bill O’Reilly, whom I’ve felt for a long time is Burt Lancaster’s J.J. Hunsecker in 1957′s The Sweet Smell of Success or Andy Griffith’s ‘Lonesome’ Rhodes in that same year’s A Face in the Crowd.
Roger Ailes — I got your Bill O’Reilly problem solved right here. You might want to make the call fast, though, before CNN grabs Jay and puts O’Reilly’s ratings into the Tail Spin Zone.
Addendum, February 12th: On today’s O’Reilly Factor during the mail segment O’Reilly managed to come down on both sides of the death penalty for drug dealers. First he responded to a viewer letter asking if he favored the death penalty for drug dealers by saying he opposed the death penalty but favored harsh prison sentences. Then afterwards he read a reader letter: “Having been to Singapore where drug smuggling brings a death sentence, I can tell you that it works” — O’Reilly said nothing. This juxtaposition of letters in which O’Reilly’s final word is quoted from a viewer without objection — with the preplanned backstop that, “Well, I’d just said I was opposed to the death penalty for drug dealers” — is the sort of rhetorical loop-de-loop that is the hallmark of a master propagandist who admires the unfettered efficiency of homicidal totalitarians but hides behind ambiguity because unambiguous clarity would end him.
Next month — February 6th, to be precise — the NBC television network is forcing the retirement of their number one late night star — Tonight Show host Jay Leno — in favor of the talented but Tonight Show-ratings untested Jimmy Fallon, who currently follows Leno with Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. With rare exception, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno has held first place in the 11:35 PM ET/PT late-night time slot ratings since 1995, winning the late-night war for NBC against competition such as David Letterman on CBS, Jimmy Kimmel on ABC, and currently syndicated reruns on Fox.
In a 60 Minutes interview Sunday night Leno said he understood NBC’s decision to replace him with a younger host because Leno’s prime demographic is Baby-Boomers (including me, born in 1953) whereas Fallon’s prime demographic is Millennials — the age-demographic including my college-age daughter. According to Leno, NBC is worried that Fallon would jump ship to another network (most likely Fox) if they don’t give him The Tonight Show now. Apparently they are less worried that Jay’s loyal demographic — people closer to my age — will jump ship to watching David Letterman on CBS, a network known for programming to the Baby-Boomer demo in both prime-time and late night.
Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon
I haven’t run the late-night numbers. But NBC programmers don’t have a crystal ball that assures The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon will have a viewership anywhere near as good as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno has established. We do know that in 2009 when Leno was originally replaced with Conan O’Brien the ratings for The Tonight Show plummeted so badly NBC begged Leno to come back to The Tonight Show from the disastrous 10:00 PM ET/PT weeknights time slot they tried The Jay Leno Show in, to keep Jay from jumping to another network’s late-night time slot.
I also haven’t run commercial-revenue comparisons between Baby-Boomers and Millennials. But I can’t see how late-night ad revenues could come out with higher commercial buy rates by preferentially advertising to Millennials. Not to put too fine a point on it but even with the drop in 401(K)’s, home equity losses, and worsening fixed-income-to-inflation ratios, Baby-Boomers tend to have a lot more disposal income than Millennials who are having a hard time getting a job, paying off student loans, and — if not living in the old bedroom in their parents’ house — struggling to afford groceries. Is NBC figuring on maintaining ad-rates replacing sponsors such as BMW and Kay Jewelers with Thunderbird and Cup Noodles? Or are they counting on future advertising from pot dispensaries?
Anecdotally, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno has been regularly programmed into my DVR because I enjoy his monologue, like his bits “Headlines” and “Jaywalking,” and — even though David Letterman is frequently hilarious — Jay isn’t an-anti-right-to-keep-and-bear-arms New York intellectual like Letterman and, being a gearhead, Jay doesn’t piss me off as often.
I watch Late Night with Jimmy Fallon only when he has a guest I want to see, because Fallon’s stand-ups are often repetitive and less polished, he wastes valuable airtime playing games with his guests instead of asking them anything penetrating (this is where Letterman is even better than Leno), and — if I’m to be honest when making a marginal-utility calculation regarding who gets the second hour of my late-night attention span — the funniest person to me on late-night week nights is Craig Ferguson, who follows Letterman on CBS.
All other things being equal, NBC’s decision to lose their lock on late-night for an untested 11:35 PM show with a less-rich viewership just doesn’t make sense.
Unless — as Louie C.K. says — “But maybe…”
But maybe the most important thing about Jimmy Fallon is that his bits frequently become worldwide trending hashtag topics on Twitter.
But maybe NBC is looking a few years down the line when the late-night time-slot wars are over because a lot more people will get their programming directly from web-based services like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon, viewed either on smart phones and tablets, or connected to their big-screen monitors through Roku boxes and gaming consoles.
I may be a Baby Boomer but my Netflix and Amazon Prime subscriptions — connected with a Roku box to my living-room plasma screen — are already cutting the time I spend on my DirecTV channel line-up by half.
In the last 24 hours my daughter, away at college, didn’t ask me for a new TV set, like I might have asked my parents for at her age.
She asked to piggyback on my Netflix subscription.
The future, right there.
An Agorist is a latter-day American Revolutionary who declares the government breaching the Bill of Rights nullifies the Constitution.
Harvey Weinstein and Greg Gutfeld are equally opposed to the Bill of Rights. It’s just that one can’t count to 2 and the other to 4.
I don’t use a monolithic talking-points approach in my defense of freedom.
My old mentor, Samuel Edward Konkin III, taught me that since all opponents of liberty pretend to be in favor of a holistic liberty — then either betray it from the right-wing or left-wing — the rhetorical technique is to come at them from their own ideological window and show them the contradictions to their own premises.
This week, in which movie mogul Harvey Weinstein attacked the Second Amendment right-to-keep-and-bear-arms from the left and Fox News star Greg Gutfeld attacked the Fourth Amendment right-to-be-secure-in-one’s-papers-and-effects from the right, had me using this technique of attacking liberty-opponents from their own flanks — back-to-back.
Here are the open letters I sent each of them.
–J. Neil Schulman
Open Letter to Harvey Weinstein
Dear Mr. Weinstein,
I’m the author and indie filmmaker, J. Neil Schulman. In the past I’ve hoped to work with you both in distribution of the two feature films I’ve already written, produced, and directed, and on future projects. I’ve enjoyed many of the films you’ve produced and I think if you took the time to get to know me you’d find that we have a lot of views in common when it comes to opposing the fascist/imperialist elements that dominate American politics.
Yet the one area where you most need to understand an alternative point of view is the issue of civilian ownership of firearms. You’ve been in the middle of a talking-points war between neo-Nixonians on the right and neo-Clintonistas on the left who agree on civilian disarmament, It’s a mistake the hard-left never made in supporting arming union workers against Pinkertons and the Black Panthers in arming blacks against Klan and other violent segregationists.
I also approach this question from the viewpoint of a Jew who has written that if the Jews of Germany had remained armed and kept a warrior spirit then Kristalnacht could have been the beginning of the end for the Nazi Party prior to World War 2.
As Sinclair Lewis warned in It Can’t Happen Here, fascism not only can happen in America, it already has. Your own movies about extreme renditions of innocent people and every kind of abuse of the Bill of Rights by multiple federal departments including Homeland Security and the NSA have proved that.
The last line of defense — the only thing that can be the bottom line in defending all the other Bill of Rights — is the ability of the American people to shoot back when fired on by stormtroopers — and I’m not making this about Barack Obama; it’s true of any imperial presidency of any party that has contempt for law, the people’s rights, and due process.
I’d love to show you my new movie, Alongside Night, that makes these points in dramatic form.
J. Neil Schulman
Open Letter to Greg Gutfeld
There is no balance between security measures that violate the rights of innocent people as enshrined in the Bill of Rights and the individual liberties those measures abridge or infringe.
A clear example of this was to be found on 9/11/2001 when the infringement of airline pilots’, flight attendants’, and passengers’ Second Amendment right to carry concealed handguns on board enabled a handful of committed terrorists armed with nothing more than boxcutters to take control of four jetliners which resulted not only in massive destruction to the financial and military headquarters of the United States and the deaths of almost 3,000 innocents but two wars in retribution with tens of thousands of more deaths and broken warriors plus trillions of dollars in war costs that could have been better spent in preserving our national economic health.
Protecting liberty and individual rights — not massive government bureaucracies in the Department of Homeland Security and the NSA — is the only practical approach to preserving a secure society as well. Any compromise to this principle is allowing the terrorists to win.
J. Neil Schulman