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Ten Things About the New "Atlas Shrugged" movie – in lieu of an actual review

16 Sep

1.  It may or may not be better than part 2.  It’s definitely better than part 1.  Libertarians are basically panning it everywhere, not for its (in)fidelity to Rand’s book, but for the talents of the directors and producers.





2.  The production values are somewhere around the level of an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation or a B grade made for TV movie.  (Maybe that’s why so many trek actors, like Armin Shimmerman, have been sprinkled throughout this trilogy — they know how to act beside nothing but papier mache and glitter.)



(Shimmerman – are Ferengi interstellar Randians?)





3.  Rob Morrow (as Hank Reardon) and a number of well known TV character actors have bit parts or mid-level parts for which they are either bad casting or oddly brief cameos.


And who knew Hank Rearden was a hot Jewish boy?






(Morrow – I’d eat him with some horseradish!)


4.  Actor Kristoffer Polaha does a very respectable job as John Galt, as well as being both a moderately delicious hunk (though truth be told, aside from some pretty mountains, there isn’t a lot else for the gaze to settle on).  As long time Objectivisty libertarian Republican activist Ann Stone just emailed me “I was not crazy about this one at all…seemed stilted…the only positive was the hunk playing John Galt.”  So far all the gals and gay guys I have spoken to agree.

5.  The torture scene, where the worst of the fascist kakistocracy strip and electrocute Galt to try to force him to become the nation’s economic czar, features only a shirtless, not nude, Galt, unlike the book.  The special effects are also not good even for an old episode of TNG in this scene.  And though Polaha, married and the father of three, is 6’3″ and in better shape than me or most of the people reading this, by Hollywood standards he needs to lift some weights to have shirtless scene quality pecs.  Rearden is also not there to help rescue Galt, as he is in the novel.


6.  Funnily, Polaha does actually resemble a number of good looking libertarian boys, our better looking nerds, although he’s taller.  I think he and Gary Johnson’s son could be cousins.


7. Amazingly a number of people attending the group event screening I attended in Arlington, Virginia were libertarians who have never read Atlas Shrugged.  More amazingly they claimed to understand this movie without having read the book or in some cases having seen the first two installments.  I don’t think it is well written enough to stand alone, but if these other viewers can be trusted, I am wrong.


8.  Ron Paul, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Grover Norquist, among others, all appear, in some cases playing themselves and in some cases as extras.  It’s cute, but when someone does a real version of this someday, starring Anne Hathaway and Joe Mangeniello they should take these “product” placement gimmicks out.  (How come they didn’t get Kennedy to play Cheryl Taggart? I bet she would have been good at it for real.)


9.  It’s actually very touching and almost misty eyed making, mainly the scenes where Dagny and Galt navigate the fact that they want to be together but are on different sides of a war.


10.  The one thing the writers and directors did do well is condense The Speech and figure out how to film it.  Among all the overly long and loving panoramas of redwoods and mountains and the cheesy sets, this they did surprisingly well.

After a week of whining, inflantile, lying conservative Republicans, like The Blaze, Sean Hannity and Chris Plante, I forgot how retarded faux "progressives" are

8 Nov
But they are always there to remind us.

Since a few days before last Tuesday’s election, every conservative blog, every Virginia Republican activist, and every right wing talk show host, has been repeating a truly retarded article in The Blaze that deliberately creates the impression that an Austin Democrat under the direction of the Obama regime totally funded Robert Sarvis Virginia gubernatorial and got him on the ballot.

Here are the facts they omit or misreport:

1) The Virginia Libertarian Party always gets on the ballot, collecting the 10,000 plus valid signatures needed, to comply with the extremely restrictive ballot access laws the Virginia GOP helped write, laws that just last year kept every Republican candidate off the Republican primary ballot except for Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.  The LP has run gubernatorial candidates before, recently Bill Redpath of Leesburg.

2) The Blaze claims the $11,000 the Libertarian Booster PAC donated to Sarvis was his biggest campaign donation.  That is simply a lie.  He gave his own campaign $20,000.

3) And the largest expenditure in his campaign wasn’t even by his campaign, but was an independent purchase (see below) by the newly founded, all libertarian Purple PAC, of around $300,000 in radio and TV ads.

The faux “progressives” at the so called Center for “Public Integrity” is clearly shaking in and soiling its panties as much as the GOPsters, as afraid of a Libertarian candidate with some money as they are of a black man with a gun (and you can bet they are for disarming him too!).

Lets do the math for these cretins:

Sarvis got 145,762 votes and had $380,000 spent on his campaign, paying a little over $2.60 a vote.

Cuccinelli got 1,010,929 votes and had $14,230,000 spent on his campaign, paying a little over $14 a vote.

McAuliffe got 1,066,149 votes and had $22,053,041 spent on his campaign, paying just under $21 a vote.

Libertarians declare ‘mission accomplished’ in Virginia — after super PAC help

Robert Sarvis, who earned record 6.5 percent of vote, bolstered by big-dollar groups

By Michael Beckel

22 hours, 39 minutes ago Updated: 7 hours, 0 minutes ago

Two days after Virginia voters narrowly elected Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe over Republican Ken Cuccinelli, Libertarian National Committee Executive Director Wes Benedict declared “mission accomplished.”
If so, a pair of super PACs played an overriding role in the success of Libertarian Robert Sarvis, who garned a sizable 6.5 percent of the vote — the third-highest vote total for a Libertarian gubernatorial candidate in history, in any state.
In the final stretch of the campaign, a pro-Libertarian super PAC called the Purple PAC financed a media blitz, spending roughly $300,000 on TV ads — nearly $100,000 more than Sarvis’ campaign itself raised during the race.
And of the roughly $200,000 raised by Sarvis, the Libertarian Booster PACranked as his largest donor, behind Sarvis himself, at about $11,500, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.
Major donors to the Purple PAC include Kentucky horse breeder Richard Masson and billionaire options trader Jeffrey Yass, who sits on the board of the Cato Institute, as the Center for Public Integrity has previously reported.
Meanwhile, the Libertarian Booster PAC, which under Virginia law is allowed to accept unlimited contributions, was started in 2011 by Benedict. It counts Joe Liemandt — the Stanford University dropout who founded and runs the software company Trilogy — as its largest donor this year.
That relationship has earned Sarvis and the PAC ire from the likes of Rush Limbaugh toKarl Rove in recent days.
The reason for their fury: Liemandt and his wife Andra have deep financial ties not only to the Libertarian Party, but also to Democrats including President Barack Obama.
For instance, Andra Liemandt was credited by as bundling $326,000 for Obama’s 2012 re-election efforts, according to documents obtained by the New York Times. Federal Election Commission records show the couple alone donated $156,700 to the Obama Victory Fund, which boosted Obama’s campaign, the Democratic National Committee and Democratic parties in battleground states like Virginia.
The Liemandts together also donated about $141,000 to the Libertarian National Committee between 2008 and 2012, according to a Center for Public Integrity review of FEC records.
In a press release issued Thursday afternoon. Benedict argued that Sarvis should not be called a spoiler by Republicans.
“My hope with the Robert Sarvis campaign was for the election to be close between the Democrat and Republican, with the Libertarian getting more votes than in previous elections,” said Benedict
“I want Libertarians to win elections,” Benedict continued. “But I also want them to run for office even when they’re unlikely to win. Why? To get the public to discuss and consider libertarian principles.”
Both McAuliffe and Cuccinelli also benefited from spending by independent groups, although not to the same extent as Sarvis. And for his part, McAuliffe raised about $33 million, while Cuccinelli raised $18 million.
Update Nov. 8, 2013, 10:16 a.m.: Purple PAC President Ed Crane — a former chairman of the Libertarian National Committee and founder of the Cato Institute — told the Center for Public Integrity that his group’s extra boost was a “healthy thing” for the Virginian electorate, which got to hear from a candidate with a “socially tolerant agenda” who also favors “lower taxes and less business regulations.”
Like Benedict, he challenged the notion that Sarvis’ campaign was a boon to McAuliffe.
“This idea that libertarians are automatically taking votes away from Republicans is just not true,” he said.
Crane added that if Purple PAC had started earlier and had $5 million at its disposal, instead of a few hundred thousand, Sarvis “could have got a quarter of the vote.”

Why Ken Cuccinelli deserved to lose

7 Nov
Another version of this was published at VA Right.

I spent the last two weeks handing out literature door to door in Arlington, Virginia and the last few days going to events in southern, central, southwest and far west Virginia for the Sarvis for Governor campaign.  I’ve been to Bedford, Chesterfield, Chesapeake, Charlottesville, Fredericksburg, Annandale, Norfolk, Hampton Roads, Harrisonburg, Reston, Winchester and Roanoke.

I’ve met a lot of Ron Paul supporters who supported Robert Sarvis, who was polling at 8-13%.  The polls were all very inconsistent, some showing the Democrat, Terry McAuliffe, at 51%, some at 45%, and the Republican, Ken Cucinelli, anywhere from 39% to 44%.  Cuccinelli closed the gap toward the end, when his handlers finally let him take his balls out of the box, awakened by the public outcry against Obamacare as it was implemented.  MSNBC’s Chuck Todd said given another week of campaigning against Obamacare failure, Cuccinelli might have won; but it is also true that if he had started being aggressive a week or two earlier he might have as well.  Rather than own up to this GOP failure, the consultants and the talk radio spinners are blaming the Libertarian.


Libertarian Robert Sarvis got the biggest chunk of his vote, over 40%, from people who said they would otherwise not vote, probably not unlike the kind of vote Ron Paul turned out for primaries and caucuses.  This is important to note since in reply to this discussion, Norman Singleton, a longtime staff economist in Ron Paul’s Congressional office and a current staffer at Campaign for Liberty, insisted that it is “conventional wisdom” that Libertarians take Republican votes.  Warning Bell #1 – a Paul functionary approvingly quoting “conventional wisdom.”  In one poll, one third of Sarvis voters had Cuccinelli as a second choice and a fifth had McAuliffe as a second choice.


In the last two weeks, a somewhat desperate Cucinelli campaign attacked Sarvis, usually with weird and irrelevant picayune issues: that one of his unpaid staff tweeted a response to a Ron Paul organizer pointing out that she was a devotee of a recherché Beckian conspiracy hypothesis; another Ron Paul organizer posted 6 seconds, not even a full sentence, from a wonky Sarvis answer, onto YouTube, making it seem that Sarvis favors a new tax (Robert Sarvis has three policy papers on the Mercatus Center website calling for less spending and less regulation); others charge that Sarvis is not really a libertarian because he said he studied all schools of economic thought, not just Paul approved Austrian economics;  or just the general cry that Sarvis is a spoiler causing McAuliffe to win.  On this last point the Cucinelli Paulistas were so desperate to get another 2% for Ken from the Sarvis vote that they ignore the evidence that if Sarvis weren’t there some of his voters would also increase McAuliffe’s total.  In the end, the Libertarian spent less per vote than Cuccinelli did since all spending for Sarvis was $380000 and Ken spent $15 million. He spent almost 45 times what they did. But he got less than 7 times their vote. And he didn’t have to first spend his money to collect 18,000 signatures to get on the ballot.


So apparently Republican candidates aren’t cost effective.

On the last day of the campaign Glenn Beck’s website The Blaze reports that an Obama supporting high tech donor gave money to a PAC that gave to the Sarvis ballot drive, and every conservative chattering monkey from Hannity and Chris Plante on down has called this a dirty trick and said Sarvis is created by the Democrats to hurt the GOP.  Even though the Virginia Libertarian Party always gets on the ballot, including for gubernatorial races, with or without a donation from a Democrat.  And even though the biggest independent expenditure for Sarvis was from the all libertarian Purple PAC, $300,000 for radio and TV ads in the last two weeks of the campaign (and overlooking that Sarvis gave his own campaign twice as much as this Obama affiliated donor).  As one Paul organizer said of why she is supporting Cuccinelli, “personnel is policy.”  She’s right.  Ken Cuccinelli deserves to lose; the GOP infrastructure supporting him is shot through and through with liars and smear merchants.  Note well by the way all the conservative media outlets, The Blaze, Breitbart, and DC’s WMAL that spread last minute questions for and charges against Sarvis never interviewed him earlier or had him on their air.  And their friends kept him out of the debates where these issues might have been aired.  Should such a Nixonian GOP be rewarded with victories?

As to Rand and Ron Paul, it’s funny that Paulistas assume that they know how voters will vote, and how they will vote given their changing expectations about the outcome.  Their own Austrian economics says they don’t and that their attacks on Sarvis represent, as their hero FA Hayek entitled two of his books, “a fatal conceit,” and “a pretense of knowledge.”   Surely some voters change their vote, giving it to or taking it from an independent candidate, depending on who they think is winning.  The Paulistas assume that votes are static and a zero sum game, in direct contradiction to their Austrian economics, which would instead suggest that competition and markets are dynamic and a discovery process, where a new “firm” or a new “product” like the Sarvis campaign, actually increases the size of the market and the number of market participants, and where these new entrants as well as everyone else discover what they want to “buy” during the process of the campaign, not before entering it.  But the Paul’s assume they possess this knowledge, and that they can centrally plan the liberty movement. Norm Singleton has told me that my use of the phrase “central planning” is a smear on the Paul’s.  But the problems of central planning related to decentralized information are known to apply to large firms in a market economy, which may be so big that their internal operations, no longer run by prices, become dysfunctional. And since Paulistas encouraged us to get behind the GOP, now once again shown to be unpopular, shot through with liars, and a flailing failure (unwilling to really fight, until the very end of their campaign, when it was too late), it looks like this is a case of dysfunction.  This hubris led them to waste a lot of time attacking, and even lying about, Sarvis, instead of competing for votes with McAuliffe.  Including ironically charges that Sarvis is not sufficiently Austrian (is Ken?) or is too moderate and wonky and doesn’t oppose taxes (didn’t Ken Cuccinelli’s administration and governor just raise taxes?)


Now the Pauls no doubt have good reasons to support Ken Cuccinelli.  He quashed a move to change the election rules during the Virginia primaries last year, when only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul did the onerous work to make it onto the Virginia ballot and Newt Gingrich and other slackers asked for special favors to be put on without collecting signatures and doing the work.  (That is, all the other Republicans in that primary were kept off the ballot by the same restrictive ballot access laws the Libertarians face every election, which is why Robert Sarvis aimed for 10%, to get the Libertarians permanent ballot status and free them from annual petition gathering, by complying with the Republican co-authored ballot access law which requires them to get 10%.)  This “favor” (of obeying the Virginia law) that Cuccinelli did Ron Paul must be repaid.  And presumably a Governor Cuccinelli would have been helpful to a 2016 Rand Paul presidential effort.


The Paul’s and their groups, like Campaign for Liberty, have decided that they must centrally plan the liberty movement.  They know best, and like Obama or some other statist, they want to collectivize our eggs and invest them all in one basket, the GOP.  As anyone who knows me knows, I am only supportive of Paulian efforts, from Rand’s anti-NSA petitions, to C4L kids protesting Syria, to recruiting candidates like Thomas Massie and Justin Amash.  And I would support any William Proxmire or Eugene McCarthy type Democrats who try to liberate Democrats from the Borg that controls them, should these extinct species reappear.  And the Paul’s and others are free to PERSUADE us that their strategy is the best, or even only, one.  But when they start lying and spinning, though it is not coercion, it is akin to the demand of the central planner that they know best and we must invest all in their 5 year plan, even if we think it may fail.

Whistleblowers this afternoon on Sean Hannity radio

19 Jun

Snowden and the NSA continue to divide the right.



Followed by Rand Paul.