Nobeus News

Troll


Good morning. It’s Monday morning, February 20, 2017, and this is J. Neil Schulman with commentary.

Today the Internet Movie Data Base — IMDb — deleted all its discussion boards. These were message boards for starting topics and posting replies on movies, television, and individuals who were credited in movies and television.

In 1999, seven years before I listed Lady Magdalene’s, my first movie, on IMDb, I started and replied to comments in the IMDb message boards. I found the discussions collegial and enjoyable.

IMDb.com is a division of Amazon.com, as is Withoutabox.com, a service for submitting independent films for festival play. IMDb encouraged indie filmmakers such as myself to make as much use of IMDb as possible to promote our films, including posting background info in the IMDb message boards.

So I did, and that’s when the message boards turned into a nightmare for me.

Withoutabox asked first-time directors to fill out a survey and encouraged us to share it to the IMDb message boards. One of the questions was obvious: what movie directors did we consider influences? I answered with my favorites: Kubrick, Hitchcock, Preminger.

The next thing I knew was a spate of messages: “Schulman thinks he’s the next Kubrick, Hitchcock, Preminger!”

Anything I replied after that was a Chinese finger trap: the harder I tried to pull away the tighter it held me.

From that day in 2006 through the shut down of the IMDb message boards today I was followed by what I soon learned were “trolls” — anonymous writers using multiple “sock puppet” accounts — who worked to destroy the lives and works of anyone working in the film or television business that they could.

Trolls Win

Did it require any actual reasons? I don’t know. I think it might be that it was the use of power for the sake of power. They did it because they could and it felt good to feel empowered, even if it was only the power to destroy. I don’t think any personal animus was even required.

I was a prime target. I was accused of making up the film-festival awards Lady Magdalene’s won. I was accused of writing the positive reviews my movie received, or having my friends write them. When I announced Kevin Sorbo would be starring in Alongside Night I was accused of lying about it.

IMDb has user ratings for movies that have started play, ratings from one to ten. The trolls used their multiple accounts so that overnight hundreds of “1″ ratings appeared for both my movies on days the movie had played nowhere for months, and from countries where the movie had never been seen. These ratings are quoted all over the Internet, including on Amazon’s own catalog pages.

Positive user reviews were called “fake” and downvoted while negative user reviews were lauded by dozens of accounts.

Complaints on “Help” boards just increased the trolling exponentially. Asking for help from IMDb staff did too, convincing me that some of the trolls worked inside IMDb, and that IMDb was encouraging trolls to increase the site’s traffic — likely as a statistic IMDb management could show the parent company, Amazon.

It didn’t stop at IMDb. The trolls went to Amazon when Lady Magdalene’s first appeared as a streaming video and a DVD, and dozens of killer one-star reviews appeared, many with the exact same paragraphs, word for word. The trolls found my books and started trashing them, too. I pulled Lady Magdalene’s off sale from Amazon for several years in an attempt to mitigate the damage to my overall reputation.

I was accused of writing my own Wikipedia article and that was stripped of almost all true bio info posted by my fan base, replaced by vicious falsehoods put there by my detractors.

I’ve written about most of this before. Why am I bringing it up again now? To gloat that the IMDb trolls have to find another swamp to infest?

No.

I’m here to point out that trolling has become mainstream. The issue is no longer destruction of indie filmmakers on a now-defunct entertainment media message board. It’s that IMDb was a Potemkin Village to train an army of mainstream pundits who are now using the same strategy and tactics to destroy political opponents.

Milo Yiannopoulos has made a meal out of outrageous behavior, trolling liberals on college campuses and in the media by pretending to dark positions only because doing so triggers them. It became unfunny when it resulted in rioting, vandalism, and arson.

Richard Spencer giving a Nazi salute to Donald Trump was similarly performance art designed to gain attention by feeding into the Never-Trump narrative that Trump was surrounding himself with bigots. Spencer is a low-grade tribalist whose nationalism is so wimpy no actual historical Nazi — or even neo-Nazi — would be as broad-minded and inclusive. He’s a poseur.

So we get from the little fish to the whale.

Donald J. Trump, president of the United States, is now reduced to being me, with his hand stuck in the Chinese finger trap.

TV comics — Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, Jimmy Kimmel, Bill Maher, John Oliver, even the “nice guys” Jimmy Fallon and James Corden — have turned their shows into non-stop Trump Trolling. Saturday Night Live has become Trump Trolling Central.

The mainstream news media do to Trump exactly what the IMDb trolls did to me: find nothing good and spin everything bad, even when you’re saying something the trolls had previously stated as their own position.

Trump trolls the trolls back like I tried to do, only he has an immensely bigger fan base than I ever had. But Trump has counter-trolling skill sets I never had.

When Kellyanne Conway misspoke and made a reference to a non-existent Bowling Green Massacre, the news, commentary and comedy media obssessed on it for days.

I think Trump has a learning curve.

So in a Florida rally when President Trump referred to something horrific in Sweden that also never happened, these same media jumped on the red meat again. I don’t think this second time was accidental. I think it’s a calculated diversionary strategy to move the attention-deficit news cycle away from the false narrative — already refuted by Julian Assange — that Russia put Trump in power.

My friend, writer, filmmaker, publisher Brad Linaweaver, has been warning me for years of the destructive potential of the Internet. I always argued back that without the Internet I would be completely invisible since the major mainstream media — right, left, and even libertarian — tend to downplay me if not marginalize me completely.

But when I see how this destructive creature of the Internet has now spread to all other media — when I see a civil war between a crazy far left and a demented far right — I see Brad’s point.

I see the remaining sane libertarians who haven’t been body-snatched by puppet masters already, drowning in a polluted ocean between them.

Changing metaphors, as I must:

The IMDb troll is now the size of Godzilla, and God save Tokyo, New York, San Francisco, and us all.

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The Nobeus News Report — June 22, 2015

My first Nobeus News Report since November 12, 2011.

News for Adults and News for Infants

President Barack Obama with Marc Maron
President Barack Obama with Marc Maron

Today, June 22, 2015, only the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley and CNN played the segment of President Barack Obama’s interview with podcaster Marc Maron without bleeping out the President’s use of the word “nigger.” NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, ABC World News Tonight with David Muir, and cable news channels Fox News Channel and MSNBC — unprecedented in the history of radio and television news transmission — censored a presidential interview. NBC Nightly News explicitly said they were bleeping the word out of “sensitivity” to its viewers.

Now we know which news operations consider their viewers to be adults and which have a Nanny view which considers their audience to be incapable of ingesting uncensored news.

This is a horrendous precedent for the video news business in general. Fox News, NBC/MSNBC, and Disney/ABC News are to be condemned for this break with broadcast news history. CBS News and CNN have upheld the standard for newscasting and a public interested in being treated as adults should preference those news outlets.

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The Vicar of “Christ!”

Pope Francis
Pope Francis

Back in May 2014 when Pope Francis pontificated favoring government redistributing wealth, I posted — then deleted — a blog article titled “The Vicar of Another Man” in which I told the Pope to shut his pie-hole. I was not being specifically anti-Roman Catholic or even, more generally, anti-Christian. I was invoking the principle that being a religious leader with multitudes of followers does not automatically grace one with infallible knowledge, especially when he is not even claiming to speak with a pontiff’s ex cathedra authority.

When atheist Bill Maher is having a love affair with the head of the Roman Catholic Church because the Pope’s sounding like a Democratic presidential candidate, Rush Limbaugh is telling his listeners how Protestant he is out of the same political perception, and Roman Catholic former presidential candidate Patrick J. Buchanan refers to Pope Francis as an “Argentinian Jesuit Socialist,” you know the Pope is making waves.

The discussion of planetary global warming is not scientific; it’s political. The for-and-against on this issue divides along lines from partisan left to right. I consider that anyone who regards as a “pollutant” the all-important exchange gas between chlorophyll-breathing plant life and oxygen-breathing animal life — carbon dioxide — is either a stealth agent of invading extraterrestrials intent on terraforming this planet to their own ecological needs or is manipulating this issue for other brands of world domination.

The Pope heads up a tiny state but his church has 1.2 billion worldwide followers. With the threat of excommunication always held in reserve — and for the faithful this means the possibility of spending an eternity in hell if one dies without church-monopolized absolution of sin — a papal encyclical is a powerful psychological weapon. Issued on matters of science, industry, or economics, it can determine the selection of governments and policy.

When the head of the Roman Catholic Church is a messenger of Keynes, Gore, and the Brady Campaign, it’s time for Jesus Christ to send him a pink slip. To quote George Burns in the movie Oh God!, “Every time I turn around he’s spreading the word – my word – only my words he ran out of years ago. Take these to Rev. Big Mouth and say that God says he’s a phony. If he wants to get rich, tell him to sell Earth shoes. But personally tell him I’d like him to shut up.”

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Defending the Church

Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Charleston, SC
Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Charleston, SC

Under South Carolina law the holder of a license to carry a concealed firearm may not carry the concealed handgun into a “church or other established religious sanctuary unless express permission is given by the appropriate church official or governing body.”

So, once again, the murder of nine innocents was in a politically-mandated gun-free zone because someone in authority gave a monopoly on gun possession to the devil.

The opposition to self-defense is not a Democratic-only position, though President Obama and Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton have used this incident to resume calls for more gun restrictions. Former New York Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg is as anti-gun as they come; and speaking to FNC’s Chris Wallace yesterday Karl Rove suggested the only way to eliminate “gun violence” is to repeal the Second Amendment and remove guns from society.

Even my friend Brad Linaweaver suggested to me that without a focus on identifying and opposing evil the gun-rights movement will finds its political coalition decaying because talking about shooting back is not a good enough argument.

Of course a stand for good and against evil must be made, and not just from pulpits. No culture can survive, much less thrive, when a theory of natural law leading to the Rights of Man (and yes, this includes females as well as sapient anthropoids, cetaceans, avians, ET’s, and AI’s who can pass a Turing Test), is not the base of culture.

But I don’t see angels around me; I see men. And there enough of those men who are evil and mad that to protect the innocent I want even prayer meetings to be able to shoot back against the invader.

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The Nobeus News Report — November 12, 2011

I’ve been busy getting my first movie out and prepping my second movie. Aside from blatantly promotional activities on these pages, I haven’t written any commentary on current events for a while. So taking a breath, here’s me playing catch-up on the last few months.

The Occupus vs. the Occuparty

Occupy Everything

The first indication I had that the Occupy movement had wings was sitting in a casino restaurant in Pahrump, Nevada, and hearing a man from one table ask a man at another table, “Are you part of the one percent or the ninety-nine percent?”

That idea — that we have two distinct classes, with a rich top and a poor bottom — isn’t anything new. It’s business as usual for the human race, which historically has divided between Aristocracy and Commoners, Patricians and Plebeians, Management and Workers, Patrones and peones, and Haves and Have Nots.

America — not as an actual place but as a Platonic ideal — is a rebellion against prior human history. The classical American story — the American Dream — is about a nobody who starts at the bottom and ends up a Somebody at the top. Upward mobility, it’s called, and the history of America — in its abolition of slavery and Jim Crow, in its embracing one immigrant ethnicity after another, in all attempts to allow innovators, the thrifty, and hard workers to raise themselves up along with their families — is the Human Revolutionary Virus, as true in Mumbai or Sofia as it was in New York City.

As a well-financed campaign organized to attain political ends, the Occupus is simply the latest attempt to ignite a class warfare that ultimately works to the benefit of the tops. Chaos in the streets of course demands a police presence, and we’ve seen that.

As a grassroots movement from people — especially the young — who know their future is being bought and sold, the Occuparty is simply more-media-correct language for the same impulse that generated the Tea Party.

When Occupy and Tea Party realize they’re the same movement with different rhetoric — and stop pissing each other off — the Occupus had better hide in inky waters.

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The Mark of Cain

Herman Cain

You’re not going to convince me that the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City — who doesn’t speak of gutting government but of hefty new taxes hard for poor people to evade — is anybody true conservatives, much less libertarians, should consider as their avatar.

But it’s certainly interesting to watch the same sort of people who during Bill Clinton’s impeachment endlessly repeated the mantra “It’s only sex!” now work to mark Herman Cain as a sexual harasser, with the latest Gloria Allred dog-and-pony show being a client who, if Herman Cain did to her what she claims he did over a decade ago, should have brought charges of sexual assault against Cain when the supposed molestation happened.

It will be enough for me if Herman Cain is stopped from further molesting the American taxpayer. But otherwise, political bimbo eruptions are so nineties, and we’re all so over it.

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I Ran from Iran When the A-Bombing Began

Mahmoud_Ahmadinejad

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not someone whose word you can take to the bank, but he recently said something which is so logical on the face of it you have to wonder if he was accidentally telling the truth: “We will not build two (nuclear) bombs in the face of (America’s) 20,000.”

Ahmadinejad is probably lying in that Iran is probably building the two atomic bombs, along with testing missiles that could carry these atomic bombs to targets in Israel.

But Ahmadinejad is also admitting a greater truth. If Iran nuked Tel Aviv with the sort of atomic bomb that the United States first used in 1945 against the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, U.S. Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles carrying thermonuclear warheads could respond within minutes and eliminate Persia from the face of the earth.

I’m willing to believe that individual Muslims can be nutter enough to strap themselves with suicide vests and blow up a cafe or a bus, but I don’t think any ruling class’s faith in Paradise is confident enough to launch an attack which stands a good chance of annihilating the attacking nation.

Is there anyone who really wants to argue that Iran with the possibility of getting its first A-bombs is more of a threat than a Soviet Union that for decades had thousands of thermonuclear bombs and pretty much a certainty of successfully deploying them against American and European cities?

Please. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has shown that he’s smart enough to understand the words “Assured Destruction” — and he also damned well knows if he orders the atomic bombing of Israel, what he can do to threaten the United States from killing his country in retaliation won’t be Mutual.

Ahmadinejad is engaging in typical primate behavior, jumping up and down and trying to look scary. But he has no poker face and he’s just shown us his tell. When Saddam Hussein tried this sort of bluff he ended up swinging on a rope. Hey, Mahmoud. Muammar Gaddafi had full diplomatic relations with the U.S. and that didn’t prevent him from being dragged out of a hole in the ground and shot. You really don’t want to make the whale raise you and call.

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“Alongside Night Must Be Made!”

Alongside Night


Cato the Elder ended every speech, “Carthago delenda est!” — “Carthage must be destroyed!” Recently I’ve been ending everything I’ve been writing:

Alongside Night Must Be Made!


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This article is Copyright © 2011 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.


Winner of the Special Jury Prize for Libertarian Ideals from the 2011 Anthem Film Festival! My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available free on the web linked from the official movie website and as a DVD on Amazon.com. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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The Nobeus News Report — February 24, 2011

Wrap-up of news and opinion from your not-so-humble correspondent.

An Open Letter to Jeff Bezos,
Founder, President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board, Amazon.com

“J. Neil Schulman has seen the future, and there are no books.”
– Cynthia Crossen, The Wall Street Journal,
Jan. 18, 1989

Dear Mr. Bezos,

I’m one of the pioneers of the eBook, according to a 1989 article on me in the Wall Street Journal. I’m also an award-winning author and filmmaker with nine of my books and a feature film I wrote and directed sold on Amazon.com.

In a graduate course I taught for the New School for Social Research in Spring, 1991, I wrote the following phrase: “an electronic reader weighing 9 ounces, with a high-rez, page-white screen.” I got pretty close to describing the Amazon Kindle, 16 years before it existed and three years before you started Amazon.com. Wikipedia tells me that the first Amazon Kindle weighed 10.2 ounces when released November 19, 2007, and that the latest Kindle weighs 8.5 ounces.

With foresight like that, maybe I’m worth paying attention to for a couple of minutes.

Amazon.com's Jeff Bezos
Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos

Amazon.com and I are in a kind of symbiotic relationship.

As an author my on-demand books are placed on Amazon.com by Ingram and I link to them from my websites through an Amazon.com Associate’s account.

I’ve put one of my most popular book titles on sale in the Kindle store.

I’m also an Amazon Prime member.

As a filmmaker Amazon.com’s IMDb division lists me, personally, and my film projects.

I’m a subscriber to Amazon.com’s IMDb Pro service.

I submitted my first feature, Lady Magdalene’s, to dozens of film festivals using Amazon.com’s Withoutabox division.

Through Amazon.com’s CreateSpace division I’ve made Lady Magdalene’s exclusively available for sale through Amazon Instant Video.

CreateSpace has also made the Lady Magdalene’s soundtrack CD exclusively available on Amazon.com.

In a few months the DVD of my movie Lady Magdalene’s will be released and in anticipation of that I decided I should raise the word of mouth about Lady Magdalene’s on the web. One of the legs of that advance marketing strategy was to run some Google Adwords text ads directing people to the Amazon.com Instant Video page for my movie, with the intent of driving sales and raising its ranking. I used the link code provided me as an Amazon.com Associate to do it. Each click to the Amazon.com sales page cost me around forty-five cents.

Yesterday I received an email from the Amazon.com Associates department.

Did the email thank me for spending my own out-of-pocket money to drive business to Amazon.com?

No.

Did the email offer to enter into a co-op marketing agreement by which Amazon.com would share the costs of the ads with me?

Uh-uh.

The email bitched at me for (a) violating my Amazon Associates agreement (does anyone actually read web boilerplate before clicking “I accept”?) by using my link in an ad; and (b) infringing on Amazon.com’s trademark by using Amazon as key words in web searches. The email told me I wouldn’t be paid any commission on these sales and told me if I didn’t remove my ads my Associate affiliation would be shut down.

Dude, you have got to be kidding me. Read my articles on IP here, here, and here. I’m considered the most vociferous defender of IP in a largely anti-IP libertarian movement. I’m the last guy on earth who would consciously violate your trademark.

I bet, when you and your fellow geniuses figured out — a few years after I did — that digital media and computer networks was going to drive brick-and-mortar booksellers, record stores, and video rental stores into bankruptcy, you never figured that your anal-retentive lawyers were going to mess up your brilliant business model by discouraging your strategic allies from doing business with you by making your employees treat them like crap, but that’s what they’re doing.

I removed my ads that at no cost to you were driving sales to your shop.

Heads up from me to you, free of charge.

Sincerely,

J. Neil Schulman

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Harry’s Law

I’ve been a resident of Pahrump, Nevada, since 2001. In 2006 I filmed much of Lady Magdalene’s in Pahrump, the rest in Las Vegas, at Hoover Dam, and at Front Sight, which spreads from Nevada’s Nye County (where Pahrump is) into Clark County (where Vegas is).

Pahrump is not like other places.

In January, 2011 the Pahrump Town Manager, Bill Kohbarger, recommended to the Pahrump Town Council that privately owned firearms be banned at town-sponsored events and on official town property.

The next town council meeting Pahrump gun owners, speaking from the floor, refused to let any other town business proceed until that proposal was rejected by the town council. The Pahrump town council permanently tabled the proposal.

At the February 12 town council meeting an extension of Bill Kohbarger’s contract as town manager was voted down, 3-2. Without that vote his contract would have automatically extended another three years. This firing was despite all the town bureaucracy speaking in favor of what a great boss Kohbarger was.

Despite being a decent town manager by all accounts Bill Kohbarger made a fatal political mistake, the sort of thing that in olden days got people tarred, feathered, and ridden out of town on a rail.

Bill Kohbarger forgot where he lived and who his employers ultimately were. He forgot that Pahrump comes from a tradition that prizes individual autonomy and individual freedom. He forgot that outside Las Vegas — which is filled with a bunch of California immigrants who still haven’t melted into the culture — Nevada is still very much the Old West.

Nevada Senator Harry Reid just made the same mistake.

Harry Reid
Senator Harry Reid (D, NV)

To quote Mark Waite’s story in Wednesday’s Pahrump Valley Times:

U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., appeared to pause for a moment during his speech to the Nevada Legislature Tuesday after he said the state should outlaw prostitution, as if to anticipate some applause.

There was none. There wasn’t any applause either from officials representing Nye County or a prominent brothel owner who commented on the senator’s remarks to the Pahrump Valley Times.

My house in Pahrump is a mile from two brothels. They’re not near any schools. The women who work there aren’t allowed into town except one day a week, to visit the doctor for STD tests. They pay taxes and they don’t bother anyone.

Nevada is the only state in the union that still allows its counties the option to allow legal brothels (Nye County does, Clark County doesn’t), which are legal in the UK, European countries like Germany, and in Asian countries like Thailand. Prostitution is illegal in Muslim countries that operate under Shariah law, and in places whose laws are still influenced by other sexually restrictive religious codes.

In this last election for the Nevada Senate seat, Republican “Tea Party” candidate, Sharron Angle, was not only opposed to legal prostitution in Nevada, and — incredibly — even legal gambling in Nevada, but opined in one interview that if bringing back alcohol prohibition was the only way to keep marijuana illegal in Nevada, she would favor bringing back Prohibition.

It was nutty stuff like that which got Harry Reid re-elected in a year when fiscal conservatives were regularly retiring big government spenders.

So now the winner adopts the loser’s platform, in a state which has little tolerance for its elected representatives infringing on what they see as their liberty.

It might take a while, Harry, but wave to Bill Kohbarger on your way out, because if I have to choose between the honest working women of Pahrump or the whore currently representing the State of Nevada in Washington, I choose the honest working women of Pahrump.

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Holder’s Law

Anybody besides me watching Kathy Bates’ new legal drama, Harry’s Law?

In the fifth episode titled “A Day in the Life,” Kathy Bates’s character, storefront lawyer Harriet Korn — new to criminal law — tries to resign from representing a client charged with murder when she finds out her client really did it. Since the jury has already been empaneled the judge won’t let her — so Harry deliberately scuttles her case by telling the jury her client is guilty, causing a mistrial, a contempt of court citation, and a hearing to disbar her for inexcusable misconduct.

You see, when you’re a lawyer representing a client, you’re supposed to represent your client to the best of your ability, no matter how much you hate the scumbag.

Funny that this standard didn’t apply when California Attorney General Jerry Brown (now the California governor again) — charged to defend the majority of California voters who had passed a proposition amending the state’s constitution to forbid issuing of marriage licenses to same-sex couples — threw the case.

Don’t sidetrack me; I don’t consider that any government should be licensing marriage in the first place, for the exact same reasons I don’t want my own state intruding into the private consentual relations between a man, a woman, and a MasterCard. Or two women, a man, and a MasterCard. Or Two Men and a MasterCard. Or whatever party the holder of the MasterCard can afford. And I apply the same moral and ethical standards to longer-term contracts, like marriage.

Eric Holder
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder

But now U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder — the lawyer whose client is Congress when its elected representatives pass a law — has done what Jerry Brown did — what Harry Korn did in a weekly TV drama: betrayed the client and thrown the case, for no other reason than that he doesn’t like it.

I don’t like it, either, but WTF? Are the lawyers who are supposed to be in the business of defending the law now allowed to throw any case they don’t happen to like?

Even an anarchist lawyer in a private arbitration would get sanctioned for that.

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Look for the Union Label

Wisconsin Education Association Council
Wisconsin Education Association Council

My mother told me as recently as yesterday at dinner that some of the first words out of my mouth when I first learned to speak were, “That lousy union!”

No, I wasn’t regurgitating an incident from a past life. My father, concert violinist Julius Schulman, had been the concertmaster and featured soloist of the WOR Mutual Network Symphony Orchestra when it had higher ratings than the rival NBC Symphony Orchestra under Arturo Toscanini. I picked the phrase up from my dad because he was still complaing about losing that job — at the time the pinnacle of his musical career — when Musicians Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians struck WOR because the network tried to fire several musicians who got full salary but never were called in actually to perform. In other jobsite situations this is called featherbedding.

The strike was never settled. WOR simply gave up its orchestra and went to “canned” music.

That lousy union.

Like my father, I’m a union member: the Writers Guild of America, East, affiliated wth the AFL-CIO. I have no particular beef with my union, aside from them striking twice within my first few years of membership and the six-month-long strike that wiped out the only job I’d been contracted to write a movie for TV and my never getting another paid job screenwriting for someone else’s company, since. I have a talent agent and a literary manager representing me, plus my own production company. I’ve never understood what a union can do for me that my reps and I can’t do without their help — except lose me job offers from producers who don’t want to sign a union contract.

Everybody misses the point about what a union is and what it does. Unions supposedly raise wages and working conditions by collective bargaining, which supposedly places them on an equal footing with big employers. The natural laws of economics are described to say that when the price of anything, including labor, is raised above what the market will bear the market will replace it with something else or somewhere else. Collective bargaining can’t raise the market value of a worker for a particular job any more than it could alter the laws of motion or thermodynamics. If wages and benefits get too high, jobs are eliminated (like my dad’s job) or outsourced to places which don’t have rules making them bargain with unions.

This too theoretical and complex for you? Try this on for size. Unions have no word for management or bosses as insulting as the word they use for non-union workers: scab. Unions are not organized against management and bosses. Unions are organized to regulate workers and to use force against unregulated workers.

Now, in the private sector — where any “job” is nothing more than a trade of work in exchange for money — interfering with the trade is tyrannical.

Workers should be free to bargain collectively or not to bargain collectively.

Employers should be free to bargain collectively or not to bargain collectively.

Anything that anyone – government or goon — does by force or threat of force or even the implication that force might be used — to compel either side either to bargain collectively, or not to bargain collectively — is tyrannical.

But when the “trade” is between a government and an individual, anything the individual can do to even the odds is an improvement. That includes organizing the government workforce and collective bargaining. It’s just one more separation of powers. It’s one more limitation on government power. It’s one more monkey wrench thrown into the machinery of Leviathan.

Government is force. It is tyrannical and coercive by its nature. It takes its money by force and spends it by fiat. Only the delusion of its officials and employees that they are doing something worthwhile that can’t be done in a private transaction separates government from being a purely criminal operation.

So this pro-capitalist libertarian wishes to extend his support to the members of the Wisconsin Education Association Council in its struggle against the Wisconsin Republicans led by Governor Scott Walker to eliminate their collective bargaining powers.

This article is Copyright © 2011 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.


Winner of the Special Jury Prize for Libertarian Ideals from the 2011 Anthem Film Festival! My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available free on the web linked from the official movie website. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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The Nobeus News Report — May 13, 2010

Wrap-up of news and opinion from your not-so-humble correspondent.

When Conservatives Can Pass for Communists

Ashley Madison Billboard

Sean Hannity stylizes himself as an American conservative: a defender of individual freedom, capitalism, and American traditions.

Principles are tested by how they’re applied in the real world … and an interview Hannity did on his Fox News show yesterday puts the lie to Hannity’s claim that he’s a true American conservative.

Sean Hannity

Hannity’s guest was Noel Biderman, the attorney and former sports agent who in 2002 founded AshleyMadison.com, a dating site for married people.

Now, speaking personally, I didn’t cheat on my wife when I was married. But before I was married I was once the “other man” to a woman who was separated from her alcoholic husband — and we didn’t quit seeing each other for a while after he completed rehab and she decided to give him a second chance. Her children were grown. I was the one who urged her to return to him because she didn’t want any more children and I did want children. Make what you will of my moral compass; I’m comfortable with it.

But Sean Hannity was on the attack. He called Noel Biderman the moral equivalent of a pimp and a crack dealer. He asked him how he can sleep at night knowing that children will suffer because of the marriages his service breaks up. Hannity chided Biderman for making a profit out of breaking up marriages — no communist could have made a stronger attack on the profit motive — and the Roman Catholic inquisitor Sean Hannity wasn’t moved in the slightest when Biderman pointed out that divorce lawyers and Hollywood studios who make movies glorifying affairs also work for profit. If it had been me sitting in Biderman’s chair I would have asked Hannity how many millions he got paid last year, or whether he did his show living off alms.

Hannity was so busy imposing his personal moral standards on his guest that he abandoned all illusion that he’s a media professional and forgot what his job description requires: to interview his television network’s guest. Hannity didn’t ask a single question that elicited any information about what Ashley Madison’s service is, what screening standards they have for people who use their service, and what Noel Biderman’s ethics and principles were as a businessman. He never asked as simple a question as whether secrecy is guaranteed to Ashley Madison’s clients, whether a spouse can inquire whether the other spouse is a member, or whether a subpoena in a divorce case might produce evidence that can be brought into court as evidence of infidelity. These would have made for an actually informative news talk program.

But Hannity wasn’t interested in being a television professional. He wasn’t interested in asking questions his viewing audience might be interested in. All he was interested in doing was sneering and making accusations based on his own beliefs.

Sorry, Sean. You don’t get to spit on free enterprise and be a conservative. You don’t get to set your Catholic moral code as the standard by which to judge everyone else’s. In America the founding principles were that religion is a matter of individual conscience — and those principles protected Roman Catholics from Protestants who preached from the pulpit that your church was the “whore of Babylon.”

So knock it off or prepare for real conservatives to call you on your hypocrisy, your failure to live up to historical American principles, and your bigoted sectarian intolerance.

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Glenn Beck Again

In my last Nobeus News Report I wrote about conversations I’d had with fellow author Brad Linaweaver questioning the principles of Fox News host, Glenn Beck. Since that time Beck did something that impressed me: he stood up for the Constitution at a moment that it really mattered. Sitting next to Fox News contributor Judge Andrew Napolitano on the May 4 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends Glenn Beck unreservedly stood up for the constitutional rights of the accused Times Square attempted bomber, Faisal Shahzad.

Bravo!

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As long as we’re talking about the Constitution …

James Madison
Author of the Bill of Rights, James Madison

Recently I’ve been involved in a private email exchange with a good friend of mine with whom I’ve worked for many years in defense of the Second Amendment. I’m a strict individualist who believes in a natural moral law; my friend is more of a pragmatist and a utilitarian. But on other than the narrow defense of the right to keep and bear arms, our approaches have diverged widely since 9/11, as he regards Islam and Muslims as an historical movement to create a worldwide caliphate and I more narrowly focus on the specific threats by ideologically committed jihadis. As you can tell from my praise above for Glenn Beck, I think Muslims have exactly the same Constitutional rights as everyone else.

My friend has charged me with making arguments that are “simplistically unequivocal in an incredibly complex and equivocal world.”

My view is that moralists ranging from Moses, to Jesus, to Thomas Paine, to Henry David Thoreau, to C.S. Lewis, to Ayn Rand, to Mohandas Gandhi, to William F. Buckley, Jr., to Martin Luther King, Jr., to Tom Clancy, would have regarded this charge as a rationalization for villainy.

Here are some of the specific points I’ve been making:


###

You and I met because we both wanted to work for the defense of a constitutionally protected right. As far as I’m concerned every Muslim has as much of a right to keep and bear arms as you and I do. They have the same right to remain silent and not to be questioned without an attorney present as you and I do. They have the same right not to be imprisoned without being convicted of a crime in an open and fair trial by a jury of their peers as you and I do. Each Muslim is innocent until proved guilty in a court of law as much as you and I are.

I don’t consider the Constitution of the United States and the federal republic formed under it to be a perfect solution to the problem of maintaining individual human liberty, but its authors were men making an honest attempt and I think their legacy needs to be honored and preserved until we can come up with something which preserves and defends individual human liberty even better.

I’m not willing to sacrifice my liberty, your liberty, or anyone else’s liberty in the pursuit of security against foreign powers, religious zealots, terrorists, or criminals.


###

Will you please tell me the limits of what you advocate in pursuit of your political agenda?

1. Does it exclude torture?

2. Does it exclude arrest without charges and imprisonment without trial?

3. Does it exclude discrimination based on religion, ethnicity, or national origin?

These are not tough questions. You don’t have to be smarter than a fifth grader to answer them.

Torture means inflicting punishing distress on someone. You can tell whether you’re torturing someone because they’re writhing around trying to make it stop. If you do this as a means of questioning someone you’re violating the 8th amendment, which states, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

Arrest without charges and punishment without trial are forbidden by the 4th through 8th amendments:

Article [IV]

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Article [V]

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Article [VI]

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Article [VII]

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Article [VIII]

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

The attempted shoe bomber, the attempted underpants bomber, the attempted Times Square bomber, were not members of any military force nor were they members of a militia. They were all civilians who were attempting to commit a crime. Their religious reasons for doing so are elements of motive, nothing more. If they were involved in a conspiracy with a foreign government they may be charged with espionage and sabotage. If they were involved in a conspiracy with overseas civilians they may be charged under organized crime or racketeering laws. But if they’re arrested on American soil they get tried by the same rules as apply to all trials in American civilian courts. If they’re American citizens and they serve sentences for the crimes — for which they were tried and convicted — that have them released from prison alive, they are returned to American soil upon their release. If they are foreigners, then following trial and conviction they can be deported, either before or after the completion of their sentences.

But the Sixth Amendment isn’t complex or equivocal about what’s to be done with them if they are captured alive either on American soil, or brought to American soil. (And Gitmo, being an American Naval base, is American soil; if you’re born there you can run for President.) They “shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”


###

When I was writing for The Twilight Zone in the mid 1980′s, I wrote a script called “Colorblind” which was unproduced when CBS cancelled the series. Harlan Ellison — who is of the left — hated the script, calling it “knee-jerk liberal.” This surprised me since I thought my script’s approach to racism was to condemn it for not treating people as individuals, which I consider a traditional American value — even if it took a while for many Americans to apply it consistently.

I’m a stickler on this point. My friend can’t call himself a moral person — much less a conservative, an individualist, a believer in American exceptionalism, a son of the Founding Fathers, an advocate of the Declaration of Independence, or a person pledged to support and defend the Constitution of the United States — if he doesn’t believe rights adhere to all individuals until that individual is convicted of some criminal act by which he deprives himself of the legal protections for one or more of those rights.

Birth is not enough.

Belief is not enough.

Advocacy is not enough.

Suspicion is not enough.

Location is not enough.

Association is not enough.

You have to do something, and if that act is a crime, you have to be convicted of the crime.

Let’s also be clear that we’re not talking about what happens between belligerents during a war. That’s a discussion for another day.

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were the only American civilians — both of them American citizens by birth — to be convicted of espionage and executed.

If American traitors who passed Manhattan Project atom-bomb secrets to the Soviet Union didn’t need to be imprisoned at Gitmo and tried in a military tribunal, then I can’t think of any reason why a pathetic wannabe like Faisal Shahzad must be.

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My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon.com Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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The Nobeus News Report — April 16, 2010

Wrap-up of news and opinion from your not-so-humble correspondent.

Happy Birthday to Me!

Happy Birthday!

I’m now available in all the Heinz varieties. I’m 57 today.

No, this isn’t an applause sign going on. Don’t feel you have to start wishing me a happy birthday. Hey, I’m not dead yet, my senses still pretty much work, I’m not missing limbs or in a wheelchair, I can still think and write, and my memory doesn’t suck yet. My Mom’s still with me and my daughter just wants me to finish reading the first Harry Potter book she gave me last year so I can start on the second she gave me for this birthday. That’s making me damned happy as it is.

The most important thing about this birthday is that I reach it with exactly the same sense of purpose and enthusiasm about my future as I had for my 18th and 21st birthdays. Maybe more, because I’ve developed new skill sets I didn’t have when I was younger.

If I went back in time and told my younger self that later in life I could look back on having written a dozen books — with praise for them from some of my favorite authors and other people I respect — and that I’d write for The Twilight Zone, and that I’d write, produce, direct, act in, and write songs for a movie starring one of the original Bridge Crew from Star Trek, well, assuming I didn’t think I was a damned liar, my younger self would have thought this an unbelievably fantastic future. So it’s that wet-behind-the-ears former me who has to be wishing me the best on a birthday in which I can look back at dreams fulfilled … and to look forward to making more of them come true.

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Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck

Brad Linaweaver and I have been analyzing and discussing Beck for months. I only watch Beck on his Fox News show; Brad also checks him out on talk radio.

Brad’s position is that Beck is all over the map, changing his positions daily, and he’s not really for anything — he’s only against Obama and the Democrats, and takes every possible opposition position at one time or another. I think that’s a plausible theory but I’m not yet convinced.

Brad’s harshest judgment on Beck is that he doesn’t give the devil his due. Today President Obama gave a speech in which he argued what should be a Glenn Beck position — that future American space launches need to come from the private sector. But did Glenn Beck have a kind word on today’s Fox News show for the President getting a big one right? No, sir.

Brad’s point is well-taken.

Beck is definitely a moving target for anyone trying to get a handle on him. Brad is correct that Beck is inconsistent. Beck will even admit this, though he spins this as his own learning curve.

But here’s where I think my bottom line comes down.

There are definitely some libertarians in Beck’s earbud. But there are also Palinistas, Neocons, Tea Partyers, and lots of people who just can’t stand Obama.

If I view Glenn Beck not as a pundit but an entertainer I see him as a spokesman for things I believe in. He puts people on his show who express libertarian ideas you won’t get elsewhere on a show with his high ratings. Beck asks questions I want asked. There is some actual investigative journalism that breaks on the Glenn Beck Show — and this has been a rarity for quite some time.

But, Mr. Beck, being against something isn’t enough, and what you’re for can’t be a moving target. You have to know your basic principles and stand by them through thick or thin.

I think we can both agree on the principles of the Declaration of Independence as a rock solid starting part.

(Updated 06092010)

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A Valued Critic: Steve Reed

Steve Reed

Steve Reed is a California libertarian I’ve known for some time, mostly through our both attending libertarian functions. He attended the screening of Lady Magdalene’s at the 2008 Cinema City International Film Festival, writing one of the best reviews of my movie. He posted it on IMDb, where it counters a campaign of disinformation about my not-yet-widely-seen indie film.

Both on Facebook, and writing comments here, Steve is more than happy to call me out when he thinks I’m being an asshole. Good for him! Not that I agree with a lot of Steve’s analysis of what’s wrong with what I write — why would I? — but Steve always provides an honest and intelligent analysis. He leaves no doubt where he stands.

One of Steve’s persistent criticisms has been that I reprint my books and other materials here. Steve wishes I spent more of my days writing new and original material.

Okay, Steve, here you go. You won one!

When I interviewed Robert Heinlein back in 1973, Heinlein told me he made a point of seeking out opinions he disagreed with, because “You can’t learn from a man who agrees with you.” In today’s highly politicized, highly dogmatic, highly binary atmosphere, much of discussion today comes down to little more than “Hurray for my team!”

I’m thinking of finding someone to make giant foam hands partisan fans can wave at political rallies — giant foam hands for Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Tea Partiers, etc. You think anyone would get the point?

Steve Reed doesn’t come at me with a giant foam hand, and since I know he reads this column, let me say directly to him:

Steve, here’s one opinionated son of a bitch who appreciates that.

Update: February 19, 2012

A short while ago I received a sad phone call from Tim Reed that his brother Steve Reed, a libertarian, Karl Hess Club Speaker and frequent KHC attendee, and a friend of mine, passed away in his sleep on February 4th, apparently due to complications of Diabetes.

Tim will be attending tomorrow (Monday’s) Karl Hess Club meeting to say some words memorializing Steve.

Steve wrote frequently for IMDb and here are his reviews, beginning with a review of Lady Magdalene’s.

Neil

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The Final Frontier

Eugene Wesley Roddenbery in 1976

President Obama almost got it right today in his speech to NASA. He talked about how commercial byproducts of technology and techniques developed by NASA for the space program have had unintended benefits here on earth — everything from medical monitoring equipment to microminiaturization of electronics.

He also talked about the inspiration factor Americans need to keep looking for new frontiers.

But what the President didn’t state clearly enough for my taste is that it’s not just about manned exploration of space. That’s just phase one, like the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The real point to manned space exploration is making off-world destinations our new homes and industrial parks — a real frontier.

I’m not one who believes in limits to growth, overpopulation, despoiling the earth, or peak oil. Most of my optimism comes from the hard scientific evidence that tells us there is untold living space — unlimited material and energy resources — just waiting for us as soon as we figure out economic ways of regularly breaking free from the earth’s gravity well.

For all of his conventional politics, Gene Roddenberry got this dead right.

Other planets, other solar systems — maybe even other galaxies — are the future home of the human race.

I was 12 when I first saw my first episode of Star Trek. I’d already learned this lesson from reading Heinlein, Clarke, and Bradbury.

Gene Roddenberry also read them. He brought their vision to network television and built an immense fan base that has never let this vision die.

This made it an extra-special privilege for me when I got to work with one of Gene Roddenberry’s spacefarers — Nichelle Nichols — who went from the bridge of the fictional USS Enterprise NCC-1701 to the real-life NASA, where she recruited minority and female astronauts, mission specialists, and even a future head of NASA.

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Winner of the Special Jury Prize for Libertarian Ideals from the 2011 Anthem Film Festival! My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available free on the web linked from the official movie website. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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The Nobeus News Report — February 23, 2010

Wrap-up of news and opinion from your not-so-humble correspondent.

Blowing His Stack

Joe Stack, who flew his Piper Cherokee into an Austin, Texas office building housing IRS offices, is being disowned left and right. The left want us to ignore those parts of his suicide note in which he bemoans the lack of government health care and the right wants us to ignore that it wasn’t offices of the Department of Health and Human Services he was flying his plane into but the Internal Revenue Service, collection agency for the loathed income tax.

Honestly, Joe Stack wasn’t really an ideologue, of either the left or the right. He had no coherent agenda beyond being driven into a homicidal fit of depression by a bureaucracy that when it wasn’t victimizing him was foiling and mocking his modest aspiration to have a nest egg to retire on.

I just re-watched the movie Deep Impact last night, a rip-off of a much-superior novel by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, Lucifer’s Hammer. In this less-entertaining iteration of Armageddon — another rip off of Niven and Pournelle’s novel — President Morgan Freeman institutes a national lottery for a million Americans to be sheltered from a comet strike on earth, and aside from Marines, Acorn workers, Steven Spielberg, and artists with grants from the NEA, anyone over fifty is disqualified. This is a generation of self-loathing hippies’ dream solution to overpopulation, capitalism, American imperialism, and budget-busting entitlements for Social Security and Medicare … but they may have miscalculated how many thousand or even million Joe Stacks will not go gentle into that good night.

You really don’t want to squeeze the old timers. They own more, vote more, like guns better, have more accumulated skill sets, and hate noisy kids who play in their flower gardens. It’s a formula for a lot more planes being flown into a lot more government offices.

In closing, I’d sincerely like to thank Joe Stack for using a Piper Cherokee rather than a firearm in his suicide attack on the IRS offices in Austin, Texas.

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Ron Paul and CPAC

Congressman Ron Paul at CPAC 2009

For anyone not suffering from amnesia — that is, anyone who doesn’t have a regular talking gig on a cable news network — the Tea Party movement did not start out as a Neocon Republican effort to run either beauty-queen Sarah Palin or Scott Brown for President, but was spontaneously formed by a bunch of Ron Paul supporters looking for something to do next when Dr. Paul’s candidacy was eliminated from the 2008 presidential race. So it was both entertaining and enlightening to see Dr. Paul show up in first place in this past weekend’s presidential straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference … and to hear the lamentations coming from the Neocon women on the floor.

During the 2008 Republican presidential debates — before the financial meltdown emerged into the light — all the mainstream Republican candidates took every opportunity to belittle Dr. Paul for his predictions that overspending on war and domestic entitlements would plunge us all into economic disaster. Now the Republican/Conservative Axis has a simple choice: become “Me, too!” Obama-ites — like Scott Brown — or admit that Ron Paul had it right and become radical minarchists in his image.

And that question depends — doesn’t it? — on whether the leadership of the conservative movement — and the Republican Party — are retards.

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Is President Obama a Socialist?

I watched Bill O’Reilly today concern himself with the labelling of President Obama as a socialist.

Don’t worry about it, Bill. With the exception of Ron Paul, just about every politician in America today wants to maintain socialistic government programs to one extent or another.

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Are the Soldiers at Fort Hood Still Sitting Ducks?

It is now 111 days since Major Nidal Malik Hasan shot 43 disarmed soldiers and civilians on the Fort Hood army base, killing 13, the result of a classified Clinton Administration policy — unchanged during the two terms of George W. Bush — preempting base commanders from allowing soldiers to carry firearms on base, and giving that authority — through layers of bureaucratic obstacles — to the politically-appointed Secretary of the Army.

Go watch the 1943 movie Stage Door Canteen, made during World War II. It accurately portrayed sergeants with a loaded sidearm on a train and enlisted privates carrying their rifles with them in public.

Why is it that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt — even after observing the Bonus Army of World War I veterans in combat in Washington D.C. with active-duty troops led by George Patton just prior to his election — didn’t worry about armed soldiers threatening public order … but Presidents today do?

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Frankly, My Dear, I Don’t Give A Dog

Dr. Gary Smith of The American Academy of Pediatrics considers hot dogs lethal — and wants them labeled as dangerous, or even banned — since kids who love Armour Hot Dogs might choke on them because of the sausages’ cylindrical shape.

At what moment in history do we decide whether it’s time to point and laugh at these clowns with diplomas, or bring out the tar and feathers and run them out of town on a high-speed rail along with the other snake-oil salesmen?

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Blogging a Novel

Escape from Heaven

I have now published two out of three parts of my novel, Escape from Heaven, in this forum. I have yet to receive a single comment on the novel on these pages.

Unless I get some feedback indicating someone is reading it, I won’t see any reason to publish Part Three.

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SEK3 — Six Years Gone

Samuel Edward Konkin III

Six years ago today, my friend and mentor, Samuel Edward Konkin III, discorporated.

I see him not all that infrequently in my dreams. This means nothing to those of you who regard dreams as mere neurological or psychological events; to me, I take this as continuing contact with the man.

My original tribute to SEK3 is here.

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My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon.com Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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The Nobeus News Report — February 4, 2010

Wrap-up of news and opinion from your not-so-humble correspondent.

The Politically Correct Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin is turning into quite the liberal.

On June 8th and 9th, 2009, David Letterman told a few jokes on his late-night CBS show that his writers didn’t set up properly. Letterman was trying to joke about Sarah Palin’s pregnant-out-of-wedlock daughter, Bristol.

You don’t need to convince me that David Letterman’s jokes are caustic and just nasty. They are, and the meaner Dave gets the harder Letterman’s audience laughs, with bandleader Paul Shaffer as the Voice of the Angels scolding his boss when Letterman skirts the edge of what passes for good taste these days.

But if you’re going to run for high office on conservative family values — as Sarah Palin did — having your unmarried daughter knocked up by a boyfriend who manages to escape the shotgun wedding is an obvious politically liability. It’s not traditional. It’s not sanctified. It’s not done.

Publicly embracing your pregnant-out-of-wedlock daughter on the campaign trail squashes the guideline that children of politicians are off-limits, opening the subject up to journalists and comedians alike.

Letterman jumped into the loophole when the Alaskan governor and one of her daughters showed up in Dave’s own stomping grounds — New York City.

Letterman’s first opening monologue joke on June 8, 2009, was that when Sarah Palin and her daughter attended a baseball game at Yankee Stadium, “One awkward moment for Sarah Palin at the Yankee game, during the seventh inning, her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez.” Rodriquez was the Yankee’s third baseman notorious for liaisons with strippers and call girls.

Letterman told a variation the next night when he quipped, “The toughest part of her visit was keeping Eliot Spitzer away from her daughter.”

Eliot Spitzer was the married New York governor who’d resigned three months earlier when it was exposed that he’d been visiting high-priced call girls.

Okay. As nasty jokes go, this one was pretty fair and balanced, since it linked scandals of the Republican Sarah Palin with the Democrat Eliot Spitzer.

But, as I said, Letterman’s writers didn’t do their due diligence, because Sarah was at the baseball game not with 18-year-old Bristol but with her 14-year-old daughter, Willow.

So Letterman’s writers opened up a loophole for Sarah Palin to fire back, and fire back she did: “Any ‘jokes’ about raping my 14-year-old are despicable. Alaskans know it and I believe the rest of the world knows it, too.”

Now. Sarah Palin’s staff also failed in their due diligence, because neither Alex Rodriguez nor Eliot Spitzer were rapists, but clients of call-girls. So, if anything, David Letterman wasn’t calling Sarah Palin’s 14-year-old a potential rape victim. He was calling her a whore.

Here’s what “the rest of the world knows.”

Letterman’s jokes were intended to make fun of 18-year-old pregnant-out-of-wedlock Bristol, not 14-year-old Willow.

If Sarah Palin really didn’t know that, and wasn’t just deliberately acting clueless about the obvious intent of Letterman’s joke, she’s just — well — retarded.

Which brings us to the latest example of Sarah Palin’s use of political correctness to silence those she regards as political adversaries.

Back in August, 2009, in a private weekly strategy session, White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emmanuel, needed a colorful phrase to describe what he regarded as the realpolitik cluelessness of left-wing Democrats who planned to run TV ads against fellow Congressional Democrats who wouldn’t support the President’s proposal for a “public option” in health care, even if splitting the party meant that no bill at all would make it to the President’s desk.

Rahm chose the term of art to describe the clueless: “fucking retarded.”

No one reported this until the Wall Street Journal did in a story run January 26th.

Sarah Palin’s two-year-old son, Trig, is a Down Syndrome child — what Devo’s first single in 1977 called “Mongoloid.”

Down Syndrome children are supposed to be learning impaired, though that’s not always true. But the term “retarded” is no longer used by the medical or teaching professions, and the common schoolyard epithet when I was growing up — “retard” — is now politically incorrect.

So is “mongoloid.” So is “moron.” So is “idiot.” So is “stupid.”

In fact, the only allowable term for persons of reduced intelligence these days is “Republican.”

But Sarah Palin — somehow missing that Rahm Emmanuel’s comment was directed at Democrats — decided that his use of the term “retarded” was an insult to her baby, and has now called for Rahm Emmanuel to be fired for using the word.

Sarah Palin takes

Sarah Palin takes Umbridge — er, umbrage — at use of the word “retarded.”

For using a word she doesn’t like. Palin wants the word “retarded” to be regarded as equivalent to the “N” word — and use of the “N” word can aggravate the circumstances of an act to make it into a “hate crime.” If Sarah Palin gets her way, calling someone “retarded” could be a felony.

Well, what term of art should I now use for a so-called conservative who repeatedly engages in fits of political-correctness designed to shut up people she doesn’t like?

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While We’re At It, Let’s Talk About Free Speech, Egalitarianism, and Common Sense

Let’s cut the crap.

There is diversity in human beings.

I’m fat and deconditioned. I’m not going to win any Olympic medals for the United States.

Down Syndrome children are often enough as mentally limited as I am physically limited. Sarah Palin’s son, Trig — and honestly it’s too early to know — just might not be smart enough to run for President of the United States.

But then again, Trig’s mother is no mental giant, and she might, so who knows?

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The President Gets Some Right

During his State of the Union address, President Obama offered several proposals that made my ears perk up. He proposed freezing government spending. He promised that all American troops would be out of Iraq by August 2010. He called for eliminating capital-gains taxes on small business investment. He called for building new nuclear power plants. He even said nice things about “clean coal” technologies.

Then, on February 1st, the Obama administration did something I’ve been waiting for a president to do since 1969: announce that the future of the United States exploration of space did not lie with NASA, but with private industry. Obama is sending NASA back to its original mission of research, and saying future space flights need to be accomplished by private firms.

If President Obama accomplishes nothing else during his administration, his “deprogramming space flight” may well be as important to the future of the human race as President Kennedy’s launching a program to land an American on the moon by the end of the 1960′s.

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Initial Disclosures

The Director of National Intelligence: DNI. Deny. But is it plausible deniability?

California. CA. See-ya!

Nevada. NV. Envy? You know it!

Hawaii. HI. That’s got to be good for tourism!

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My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon.com Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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The Nobeus News Report — January 15, 2010

Beware this Ides of January wrap-up of news and opinion from your not-so-humble correspondent.

The Devil Went Down to Haiti

According to the Southern Baptist charismatic Pat Robertson speaking on his show The 700 Club, the recent 7.0 earthquake in Haiti which is estimated to have killed 100,000 — including Monsignor Joseph Serge Miot, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Port-au-Prince, and devastated a third of the country’s nine million inhabitants — was engineered by none other than Satan, collecting on an old debt from when the Haitians made a deal to liberate themselves from the French.

Leaving aside the question of how Pat Robertson has such close relations with Satan that he’s privy to the Alienated Angel’s account ledgers, this correspondent has to sympathize with anyone who feels that trading a Gallic overlord for Satan is a step up; and I also have to wonder — now that Al Gore’s Belle Meade, Tennessee house has frozen over — whether all those things that would never come to pass until Hell freezes over are now in our future?

Jay v. Conan

There’s a very funny moment in the 2007 movie Music and Lyrics where Brad Garrett — playing music manager Chris Riley — tells his client Hugh Grant, as 80′s “Pop” star Alex Fletcher, that his gig as a retro performer is drying up because “There are new old acts coming up all the time.”

To my 18-year-old daughter retro is her parents’ generation; to me, retro is my parents’ generation. That means my cultural memory — without much study of history — easily reaches back to the “golden age of radio” when Fred Allen and Jack Benny feuded with each other for a decade on their respective radio shows, and even in movies.

It was an act, of course. Jack Benny and Fred Allen were good friends in real life and their writing staffs collaborated on writing the insults, long before Don Rickles, Redd Foxx, and Friars’ Club Roasts made a genre out of insult comedy for generations of comics to follow. But the Benny-Allen crossfire caught on with the public and the feud was good for the ratings of both shows.

As of this writing, TMZ is reporting that Conan O’Brien’s last day as host of The Tonight Show will be a week from tonight, Friday January 22nd — just shy of eight months after his taking over hosting of the show on June 1, 2009.

Also as of this writing NBC executives are denying the TMZ story to The Hollywood Reporter.

But NBC executives — who broke promises both to Jay Leno regarding their one-year commitment to his prime-time show, and who are apparently in breach of contract to Conan O’Brien, who moved his old Late Night cast and much of his crew from New York City to Burbank to take over The Tonight Show — do not have a lot of credibility these days.

Still, the NBC website has been promoting all the quips Leno and O’Brien have been firing against each other so heavily that I can only conclude that — like the old Benny-Allen feud — NBC is using this bonanza of free publicity to boost what have been sagging late-night ratings for a network in the toilet during prime-time as well.

If NBC is really dumping Conan to give Leno back the Tonight Show gig they forced him out of five years before his May 29, 2009 last show when he passed the baton to Conan, they’re not only short-sighted idiots but also utter incompetents.

Alienating Conan’s fan base by dumping him could well poison-pill NBC’s entire late night ratings … perhaps for good.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Jay. I thought he grew into The Tonight Show as a masterful host exceeded only by the sheer genius of Johnny Carson, and I’ve also been a devotee of his prime-time show.

But I also watch Conan, who’s just as much a major talent as Jay with his schooling at Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, Late Night, and eight months of hosting Tonight.

And they both have killer bands.

When this finally shakes out if NBC loses either show, Comcast — the new owners of NBC — need a clean sweep of NBC programming management.

How hard, after all, would it be for NBC to schedule 26 weeks a year of an 11:35 PM (10:35 PM Central) Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien and 26 weeks a year of an 11:35 PM (10:35 PM Central) Jay Leno Show?

Or even split the weeks — three nights Jay and two nights Conan one week, alternating with three nights Conan and two nights Jay the next.

I remember that it was Johnny Carson taking so many nights off from The Tonight Show that enabled Jay Leno to make his bones as the show’s regular guest host. Without Johnny’s days off Leno never would have beaten out then Late Night host David Letterman for the Tonight Show gig in the first place.

If you haven’t seen it, give a look to the tremendously entertaining 1996 movie The Late Shift, about the battle between Leno and Letterman to replace Johnny as host of The Tonight Show.

Jay said he never wanted to go through that again when he first agreed to let Conan succeed him as host of The Tonight Show.

Yet here we are.

Jay told us that he’s been saving his TV salaries for decades anyway, living only off his stage gigs. It’s not like he can’t afford to be magnanimous.

It won’t cost NBC any more than they’ll have to spend to pay off Conan for breach of contract after Conan’s management and legal pit bulls get done with them — and there are two standing sets and two working casts and crews ready to perform.

Jay and Conan are old friends. They should get into one of Jay’s classic cars and drive through the In-N-Out Burger take-out window, then present this plan to NBC.

I’d think better of both of them if they did, because it would prove to me they’re savvy enough to have revived the old Benny-Allen bit.

But if NBC truly can only have one and only one 11:35 star, then it’s time to settle this the American way.

No, not pistols at dawn.

I propose a series of Comedy Debates between Jay and Conan.

Four or five of them should do.

Let the League of Women Voters run it … or the Friar’s Club.

Tom Brokaw should moderate.

The American people can vote for the NBC late-night host just like they vote for American Idol contestants.

Now that would put NBC back at the top of the ratings, much more than the Winter Olympics will.

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White House Party Crashers

On December 3, 2009 in my column “Let’s Not Make a Federal Case Out of It!” I wrote the following:

Then we have the case of Michaele and Tareq Salahi, from Virginia, who allegedly gate-crashed a White House state dinner between President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on November 24, 2009. They even got onto the receiving line and got their picture taken shaking President Obama’s hand!

Michaele Salahi was a reality TV hopeful trying to get on Bravo’s The Real Housewives of D.C.. Maybe they thought this would help … or at least get them a fat check from The Inquirer. But Michaele and Tareq’s story is they showed up at the White House not knowing whether their request to be on the guest list had been granted or not, and the Secret Service let them in.

Now, of course, that it’s a big news story, the Secret Service — being shown up as somewhat less than stellar in keeping out people who aren’t supposed to get within miles of the President — are all huffy and puffy that this guy with the Arabic name should be charged with violating federal Homeland Security laws.

Hey, guys. News flash. Michaele and Tareq didn’t pull a gun on the President. Tareq wasn’t wearing a suicide belt. They got some free food. The President is reported as being pissed. Sure thing. The Democratic Party got rooked out of its usual five- or six-figure “contribution” for buying a fancy photo-op with the Prez. I’d love to see them try to collect their graft.

But a federal crime for attending a party without being on the guest list?

If this had been World War II and a well-dressed couple had crashed a reception with President Roosevelt, the only thing that would have happened is FDR asking the Secret Service if they had let in a Republican couple. Otherwise, FDR would have gotten a nice laugh out of it on an otherwise depressing day.

I’ll bet Richard Nixon, at the height of the Vietnam War protests, would have told the Secret Service to let it slide, too.

If President Obama is truly angry, he has no sense of proportion about what’s presidential-level important.


Yesterday I received an email with the following photo attached:

Tareq and Michaele Salahi snapped the pic above with Barack Obama at a “Rock The Vote” event on June 9, 2005

My email correspondent writes me, “Tareq and Michaele Salahi snapped the pic above with Obama at a ‘Rock The Vote’ event on June 9, 2005.”

The point of this photo made by my right-wing emailer — and all the right-wing blogs that are carrying this photo — is that supposedly the Salahi’s had a prior relationship with Barack Obama and were actually invited to the dinner — thus the Secret Service made no mistake in letting them in — but somehow the White House is trying to smear the Secret Service (who hold the President’s life in their hands every day) for letting them in.

How’s that again?

All the photo proves to me is that the Salahi’s began stalking Obama long before he ran for president.

Pharmaceutical Madness

If you’re upbeat and busy all the time, you’re hyperactive — and there’s a prescription pharmaceutical for that.

If you’re melancholy or grieving, there’s a prescription pharmaceutical for that.

And if you are sometimes upbeat and sometimes melancholy, you’re bipolar — there’s a prescription drug for that.

Heads they win, tails you lose.

No matter what your mood is, you’re sick and need their drugs.

What a racket!

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The “Sheik of Araby” on Science Fiction

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudia Arabia — interviewed Thursday by Neil Cavuto on the Fox Business Network — responded to Neil’s comment that Avatar portrayed businessmen in a negative light, “It’s science fiction. Who cares? … It’s going to make over two billion dollars for News Corp.”

Prince Alwaleed told Neil Cavuto that he owns 5.7% of News Corp. as a permanent strategic investment in support of the Murdoch family.

The Prince also told Cavuto that Avatar is the only science-fiction movie he’s ever seen.

First off, kudos to Neil Cavuto for being the only Fox commentator with the guts even to note that Fox’s blockbuster movie would have been ideologically trashed by almost every pundit on both the Fox News Network and the Fox Business Network if the movie had been released by any studio other than Fox.

Double kudos to Neil for having the balls to bring the subject up in a conversation with an investor holding an “irrevocable” 5.7% strategic investment commitment to his employer’s company.

Triple kudos to Cavuto for giving a writer/producer like me the heads up that — assuming I could ever get the gig — I can make any point I want to in a Fox movie, just so long as it’s science-fiction, and makes its investors a bundle.

That leaves every project I currently have in development — or have in my archives — open for submission to Fox.

That would include Alongside Night.

That would include Lady Magdalene’s.

Yes, the trivialization of much of my life’s work is insulting.

But the tolerance granted a court jester also has its advantages.


My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon.com Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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The Nobeus News Report — December 10, 2009

When I started writing J. Neil Schulman @ Rational Review as a daily column, 41 days ago, I worried that I would not be able to find enough to write a new column every day.

My worries were unnecessary. I’ve done it. But I’ve cheated.

I’ve serialized the introduction and first ten chapters of my book-in-progress, Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto, to fill up eleven of those columns; and I’ve taken several pieces I first wrote for my Facebook friends and updated them for publication here.

I’ve also uploaded into this column’s “strategic reserve” another Facebook piece, four previously published “Classic J. Neil” articles, and the forematter and first two chapters of my unpublished book manuscript, I Met God. So if I find myself unable to write a new column for any reason — travel, illness, or other pressing duties — I can maintain the daily continuity. Among print newspaper columnists this is called putting columns “on the spike.”

If I’ve found anything, since I started writing this column, it’s that on any given day there’s far more variety in what I can write about than I can cover if I stick to a rule of one topic for each day.

So, every once in a while, I’m going to do a “catch up” news commentary which I’ll be titling The Nobeus News Report. If you say “Nobeus News” aloud you’ll get the joke.

Here we go.

Al Gore and the Gangrene Movement

The East Anglia emails which show that not only has there been no global warming but that the earth has been experiencing global cooling, have barely had any impact on Oscar-winner and Nobel Peace laureate Al Gore’s continued campaign to cripple the American economy by forcing Americans to forgo cheap and domestically plentiful fossil-fuel energy in favor of solar, wind, and geothermal sources of energy that are not yet on the market.

I’m all in favor of going green, if by green you mean adding additional sources of clean energy onto the menu. I’d be off-grid in a heartbeat with my own solar and wind power if it was something I could pick up at Walmart, set out in my yard, and plug in to my house. That’s the sort of green energy that my friend Kent Hastings’ blog Permakent is all about.

But Al Gore’s carbon-jackboot on my neck isn’t Green. It’s Gangrene. It’s high time we made the distinction.

Last week David Letterman spent a half hour asking Gore leading questions about global warming and overpopulation so fawning that even Al Gore seemed embarrassed. And, of course, not a single mention of the Anglia scandal.

It reminded me of the scene in the 1967 sex comedy A Guide for the Married Man, in which Robert Morse’s philandering husband character advises a wannabe philanderer played by Walter Matthau to “Deny, deny, deny!” We’re given a comedy sketch of a husband caught by his wife in bed with another woman, who simply pretends it never happened. He answers all her accusations saying “What?” while he and his mistress dress and make the bed, and by the time the mistress is out the door and he’s seated in his chair asking his wife “What’s for dinner?” the wife doubts her own sanity and starts cooking.

Of course outright lying is not excluded from the Gore repertoire. Today he claimed that the Anglia emails are all ten years old and therefore irrelevant to the Copenhagen Conference. Bull shit. The most recent of the whistleblower-released emails is only weeks old.

I wonder how long it will take the Boston Globe‘s Ellen Goodman to write that Al Gore’s denials of the Climate Fraud are “on a par with Holocaust deniers,” as she tarred us skeptics on February 3, 2007.

I’m not holding my carbon-dioxide-polluting breath.

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Cheney Reaction

Former Vice President Dick Cheney was interviewed on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show yesterday, and during the course of that interview Mr. Cheney said of Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to bring Guantanamo Bay prisoners to New York City for a civilian trial, “I think it’ll give aid and comfort to the enemy.”

Now, the phrase “aid and comfort to the enemy” is not your average term of art, and it would be impossible to believe that the former Vice President isn’t aware of its origin. Article III, Section 3, of the Constitution of the United States reads, “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.”

So yesterday the former Vice President of the United States accused the current Attorney General of the United States — and by implication his boss, the President of the United States — of treason.

Historically when a former official makes a charge of treason against a current official, it’s considered an act of sedition — or at least cause for a duel to the death.

These days the reaction is: *Yawn*.

I’m not one of those who, like many of the left, thought Dick Cheney was the very devil, only because I’ve read the Constitution and noted that the only actual power a sitting Vice President of the United States has — aside from being transported to a secure location any time the President might be in danger — is to break a tie vote as President of the Senate. So anything nefarious that Dick Cheney did while he was President George W. Bush’s Vice President, as far as I’m concerned, gets blamed on President George W. Bush. Any of President Bush’s cabinet appointments had more actual authority than Dick Cheney. The average undersecretary had more actual authority under any chain of command than Cheney.

George Washington’s Vice President, John Adams, described it as “the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.” Vice President Truman called his office, “about as useful as a cow’s fifth teat.” Humorist Finley Peter Dunne was quoted in the movie Advise and Consent for his quip, “Being vice president is not a crime exactly. You can’t be sent to jail for it, but it’s kind of a disgrace.”

One is therefore reminded of the reply William F. Buckley, Jr., made to my friend Brad Linaweaver when Brad told the practicing Roman Catholic that he was a lapsed Episcopalian. Said Buckley: “That’s not going very far, Mr. Linaweaver.”

So Dick Cheney going from the powerlessness of being Vice President to the irrelevancy of being a former Vice President — without even the comforts of former Vice President Al Gore’s Academy Award and Nobel Peace Prize — is likewise not going very far.

When it comes to his opinions being completely irrelevant, Dick Cheney must be finding out that he is uncomfortably close to being — well — me.

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What If Nicole Brown Had Been Tried for O.J. Simpson’s Murder?

I wrote a book in 1999 about the O.J. Simpson case titled The Frame of the Century? In that book I dissect the evidence brought out in both trials and show that the molehill, rather than mountain, of evidence against the Heisman Trophy winner may indicate that Simpson may have walked into the crime scene before the police arrived, but there is no evidence that he was the killer. I show in my book how even this conclusion could have been part of a frame-up of Simpson by the actual murderer — and suggest an individual with the means, opportunity, and possible motive to have done it — and my friend, William C. Dear, has produced an award-winning documentary, The Overlooked Suspect, giving even stronger evidence that the Brentwood-adjacent murders might have been committed by O.J. Simpson’s oldest son from his first marriage, Jason Simpson.

The murder conviction in an Italian court of cute American blonde Amanda Knox now has Bill O’Reilly, United States Senator Maria Cantwell, CBS 48 Hours correspondent Peter Van Sant, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton all willing to consider that she might be innocent.

By contrast, O.J. Simpson, who was actually acquitted in his criminal trial, is still regarded as guilty.

This makes me think that if the Bruno Magli had been on the other foot, and the gorgeous blonde Nicole had been tried on similar evidence for her black ex-husband’s murder, Nicole Brown’s conviction would have left less of a public verdict of guilt than Simpson’s acquittal did.

Say it with me: double standard.

There is more sympathy for the convicted murderer Amanda Knox in the American media — because she’s fuckable — than there is for the Oscar-winning Polish Jew Roman Polanski, whose plea bargain in an American court for sex with an underage woman was so contaminated by judicial misconduct that even his alleged victim, Samantha Geimer, wants him freed.

Update October 3, 2011: The above few statements by me about the Amanda Knox case are among the most misguided I’ve ever written, and it shows how trial-by-media can contaminate perceptions to the point of insanity. When I wrote these statements I had no idea — because it was never reported in media I had access to — that the Italian prosecution of Knox was a frame-up by a psychotic prosecutor who choreographed the manufacture of incriminating evidence and the destruction of exculpatory evidence.

I’m ashamed of what I wrote and am happy today to repudiate my dishonorable vilification of Amanda Knox. I applaud the Italian retrial that has exonerated her.

I do believe, however, that if Texas investigator Bill Dear’s evidence were ever examined by the major media they could likewise conclude that the coverage of O.J. Simpson has been similarly mangled by the major media.

–J. Neil Schulman

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You’ve Just Crossed Over To … The Gun-Free Zone

It’s now been 36 days since disarmed soldiers and civilians were massacred and wounded by a single gunman on Fort Hood, and it’s been 30 days since I revealed in my November 11th column that a Clinton Administration revision to Department of Defense Directive 5210.56 — Army Regulation 190-14, dated 12 March 1993 — removed from base commanders the power to authorize arming soldiers under their command and transferred crippled authority to the politically-appointed Secretary of the Army with standards paralleling the Clinton Administration’s civilian pro-gun-control agenda.

When I first wrote about Army Regulation 190-14 I failed to note that the document was marked “declassified.” I only recently figured out that this means when the Clinton Administration first issued that new regulation they did it in secret.

President Obama, in his only speech to the United Stated Military Academy at West Point on December 1, 2009, made no mention of Fort Hood. Nor has the White House announced any revision of Army Regulation 190-14 that would allow base commanders to arm soldiers on base to harden their vulnerability to attack.

Meanwhile, on December 4, 2009, the Faculty Council at Colorado State University recommended to CSU President Tony Frank to ban firearms on campus, over the objection of the student government which asked Frank to leave the current policy which permits holders of Concealed-Carry Firearms licenses to carry on campus. This Faculty Council joins those in 49 states — Utah being the only exception — which after repeated campus massacres still denies students and faculty the right to save their own lives.

How many more disarmed victims must die, Mr. President, before you will act?

Or is it even remotely possible you have acted to allow base commanders to arm soldiers on base but are so ashamed of doing the right thing that you ordered the new policy classified?

#

Catch A Tiger By Its Toe

Oh no you didn’t!

Neil, I can’t believe you used that subtitle. Don’t you remember what the original was?

Yeah, but I didn’t use the original. And the version I learned as a kid growing up in the Northeast — the one I did use — is just too perfect for what I’m about to write. So fears of political-incorrectness dealt with, let’s move on.

Why is Tiger Woods in trouble? For what reason is the private life of this sports legend subject to endless vivisection by the sewer media?

Let’s break this down.

Tiger Woods had a moving violation which cost him $164 and four points on his Florida drivers’ license. He can ditch the four points by spending another $9.95 and attending an online traffic school approved by all Florida counties. No, I’m not being compensated for the link. Tiger Woods is a billionaire. I don’t think the $173.95 matters to him.

And — let’s add this up — Tiger Woods is (a) a sports legend; (b) world famous; (c) incredibly rich; and (d) a good-looking guy in great physical shape. If there is any man alive who can spend the rest of his life fucking every beautiful woman who crosses his path, this is the guy. He actually has the possibility of leaving Hugh Hefner in his dust.

He was also smart enough to have a prenup with his wife that protects his fortune.

So — as Robin Williams asks repeatedly about subject after subject in his latest HBO special, Robin Williams: Weapons of Self Destruction, what the fuck?

It’s not like Tiger Woods needs to worry that his reputation will be so damaged by marital infidelity that any loss of commercial endorsements will lose him his mansions and send him to live in the projects. If he never made another dime he’s set for life. He could bugger Jack Nicklaus and the loss of endorsements wouldn’t affect his lifestyle.

So why doesn’t Tiger Woods bare his claws, growl, and simply go on Letterman and say, “I like having sex with a lot of women. It’s great. You know what I mean, Dave. If my wife doesn’t like it she doesn’t have to be Mrs. Tiger Woods. And the rest of you out there are just insanely jealous.”

Once — just once — couldn’t our society tolerate an ounce of self-honesty?

If you defended your right to live your life according to your own standards, Tiger Woods, then you’d really be my hero.


My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon.com Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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