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Celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Ayn Rand’s We The Living at the Objectivist Summer Conference 2011

This year’s conference — OCON 2011 — will be held from July 2–8 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In addition to the beauty of our beachfront setting, the Fort Lauderdale area offers a wide array of leisure and entertainment activities.

Two years ago, John Allison former CEO of BB&T delivered a lecture titled “Principled Leadership”; this year his lecture is titled “Teamwork and Independent Thinking.”

Longtime Capitalism Magazine writer John David Lewis presents a special perspective on the thought and work of doctors based on his recent experiences as a patient in his new talk, “Individual Rights and Health Care Reform: A Patient’s Perspective.”

This year also marks the 75th anniversary of Ayn Rand’s We the Living, which we will mark with a special panel discussion featuring Drs. Shoshana Milgram, Robert Mayhew, and Onkar Ghate who will discuss the new chapters they have written for the forthcoming expanded edition of Essays on Ayn Rand’s “We the Living,” edited by Robert Mayhew.

Other general session lectures will include: The Objectivist Movement: 50 Years Later by Yaron Brook; Individual Rights and Health Care Reform: A Patient’s Perspective by John David Lewis; Q&A with Interviewees in 100 Voices: An Oral History of Ayn Rand by Michael S. Berliner and others; The Culture of “Package-Dealing” by Peter Schwartz; What It Takes to Win: A Workshop on Defending Capitalism by Yaron Brook and Don Watkins; an Open Q&A by Yaron Brook and Onkar Ghate; Spaceflight as It Was—and as It Ought to Be by Andrew Lewis.

Optional classes include: Principles by Harry Binswanger; Ayn Rand and the Romantic School by Tore Boeckmann; History of the Supreme Court (part 1): The Least Dangerous Branch? by Eric Daniels; Egoism and Altruism by Gregory Salmieri; Bach and the 19th Century by Thomas Shoebotham; The Nature of Literary Heroism by Andrew Bernstein; Topics in Intellectual Property: The Computer and Biotech Revolutions by Adam Mossoff; The Philosophy of Immanuel Kant (part 2): Kant’s Moral Philosophy by Jason Rheins; To Imagine a Heaven—and How “Sense of Life” Can Help You to Claim It by Tara Smith;  The Measure of All Things by Robert Knapp; The History of Ancient Greece: The Early Fourth Century by John David Lewis; The Age of Discovery: Discovering the New World (c. 1300–c. 1600) by Andrew Lewis; and Ayn Rand, Private Investigator: Detection in Fiction and Philosophy by Shoshana Milgram.

There will be a variety of events and social opportunities for conference attendees as well, with opening and closing receptions, and an Independence Day BBQ dinner on July 4 at the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort and Spa.

Links: OCON 2011 Website

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Freedom of Association is a Right; Collective Bargaining Is Not A Right

From Collective Bargaining Is Not A Right (Heritage):

[...] the freedom of association is a right shared by all Americans and protected by the First Amendment. In contrast, collective bargaining is a special power occasionally granted to some unions. In upholding North Carolina’s ban on government union collective bargaining, a federal court wrote in Atkins vs. City of Charlotte: “All citizens have the right to associate in groups to advocate their special interests to the government. It is something entirely different to grant any one interest group special status and access to the decision making process.”

Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) budget bill in Wisconsin in no way infringes on any Americans’ right to associate and lobby government. What it does do is allow Wisconsin employees to choose not to join a union and keep their job at the same time. It also forces the government unions in Wisconsin to collect their own union dues instead of using the power of the state to withhold them directly from employee paychecks.

Now there is a question you’ll never see in a New York Times poll: “Do you favor forcing all state employees to join a union and empowering government unions to take union dues directly from employee paychecks?”

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Aglialoro Atlas Shrugged Movie Screenplay is “Incomprehensible Gibberish” — Film Stage Review

Writes Timothy Farmer a The Film Stage in his [Review] Atlas Shrugged: Part I on whose dialogue he judges as “incomprehensible gibberish.”

[...] I haven’t a clue in hell what was rolling through John Aglialoro‘s and Brian Patrick O’Toole’s craniums when they wrote the screenplay. Somebody please have them admitted for a CAT scan ASAP.Meeting the script mediocrity head-on is production designer John Mott and his vacant style. Many scenes in the film are either too cluttered or severely lacking character. The book is extremely visual, essentially spelling out what needs to be purchased by the art department. Unfortunately, it seems Mott as if relied solely on Cliff Notes.

[...] There is absolutely no chemistry between the characters, not even a single metabolic drop. Blame it on not enough coverage, rehearsal, etc. The list is long. That said, the actors themselves are terrific, but still unable to escape lazy set-ups and sloppy subplots [...]

This is not good news. Thankfully, there are some redeeming qualities to the movie…

On a more upbeat note, Schilling’s Dagny Taggart is stunning, circumventing her wooden lines with pitch-perfect delivery. The way she composes herself while interacting with fellow cast mates radiates a tired screen, most especially those scenes she shares with Bowler as Henry Rearden. Edi Gathegi playing Eddie Willers and Jsu Garcia, who portrayed Fransisco D’Anconia, did well with their minor roles.

[...] It was neither compelling nor entertaining to watch. I was hyped on the thought that the book was finally being transformed after forty years into a film, yet had my doubts. My doubts won. [...]. C-

 Read the full review here.

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Atlas Shrugged Adaption Lacks Talent and Vision

The movie reviews for the Atlas Shrugged adaption have been making headlines. Perhaps the most interesting one comes from a reader commenting on a sort-of-review at Slate. (In the Slate review that best that we can learn is that “The actors and scenes are there to present Rand’s philosophy to the Twilight and Nicholas Sparks set.”) At the end of the review a reader named “Sean D’Aconnia” opines:

“[...]It is not all the glorious things that David Kelley or Barbara Branden claim it to be. In fact, it’s almost a beautiful mess but doesn’t quite reach that level because it’s not beautiful really, although there are some scenes that could have been. You can almost taste it at times. But that’s because I know the novel.
 
The friend who invited me to the screening commented to me that “Atlas Shrugged Part 1″ is ‘not as bad as we think it is.’  Unfortunately, it is.”

[..]  While I enjoyed the actor playing “Hank Rearden”, the direction was just not up to a standard befitting a movie version of Atlas Shrugged, and changes to the story were not handled well. [...] In fact, it was not lack of budget that
ruined this film – it was lack of talent and vision.

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Atlas Shrugged Movie Producer Comments Make Charlie Sheen Seem Like The Voice of Sanity

From The Daily Caller:

[...] John Aglialoro, the producer of the movie adaptation of the classic Ayn Rand novel “Atlas Shrugged,” hinted that part three of the movie trilogy might be made as a musical.

“But you know, part three could be a musical . . . like a Les Miserables kind of a musical,” said Aglialoro. “That’s part of the impact and I guess I haven’t said this publicly yet, but I’m looking at it completely different if part three is a musical with quality music that’s done in a certain way that people will like.”

[...] Aglialoro, who held the movie rights and toiled over adapting the novel to film for 18 years, told TheDC he wants to shock audiences with the final installment: “I mean, if you saw the play Les Miserables without the music, and then with the music, you may go in there saying, ‘oh hell, I would never want to see that great book in a musical.’ That’s going to shock a lot of people to see part 3 be a musical, and part 2 may be very different from part 3 and very different from part  1. It has to be new, you know . . . We get a freshness, a vitality about it, and yet it has the same, rock-solid principles and philosophies that we all know and love.”

Clueless. If the AS movie bombs Mr. Aglialoro will be the reason for it.

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Grand Prize of $10,000 in 2011 Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest

The Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest is open to 12th Graders, College Undergraduates, and Graduate Students from all over the world with an entry deadline of September 17, 2011. FIRST PRIZE: $10,000; 3 SECOND PRIZES: $2,000; 5 THIRD PRIZES: $1,000; 25 FINALISTS: $100; 50 SEMIFINALISTS: $50. Entrants must write an essay on one of the following topics:

1. What do you think is meant, in Part III of Atlas Shrugged, by the phrase “utopia of greed”?
2. Why does Francisco D’Anconia, heir to the greatest fortune in the world and a productive genius with boundless ambition, change his course and pose as, of all things, a playboy?
3. What does the story of Atlas Shrugged have to say about the relative powers of good and evil and the conditions under which one is victorious over the other?

The winning applicant will be judged on both style and content. Judges will look for writing that is clear, articulate and logically organized. Winning essays must demonstrate an outstanding grasp of the philosophic meaning of Atlas Shrugged.

To learn more visit: Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest.

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Profiles in Business Courage: George Buckley CEO of 3M

Writes Richard Salsman at his blog on Forbes on  Bravo For George Buckley, A Righteous CEO:

Since his party’s failure in the mid-term elections, President Barack Obama has been posing as “pro-business” and a “centrist.” There’s not a single reason to believe it. Obama is a phony — on this and many other issues — just as he was during his 2008 campaign. If Obama is “pro-business” in any way, like most politicians today he claims to be so only to extract tax revenues and campaign funding. That’s the sole extent of it. Business is a mere host to his political parasitism. Yet his hostile attitude isn’t much different from that seen in the GOP.

[...] That Obama is being disingenuous is clear from the avalanche of new regulations, controls and dictates now piling atop America’s businessmen, whether due to ObamaCare’s further socialization of the health care sector, or to Dodd-Frank’s scheme to further invade the financial sector, or to the EPA’s latest crusade against nearly every sector by calling CO2 a “pollutant.” [...] In his essay on regulation Obama also conceded that many “unreasonable burdens on business” have “stifled innovation and have had a chilling effect on growth and jobs,” yet he refused to call for the repeal of any set of regulations, or the abolition of a single regulatory agency. He keeps sponsoring and signing laws that impose still more burdens.

[...] For an alternative assessment — i.e., with refreshing honesty and candor — consider a recent interview of a courageous business executive who dares to describe Obama’s actual policy toward business: legalized looting. According to George Buckley, CEO of 3M Corp. since 2005, “We know what [Obama's] instincts are: they are Robin Hood-esque. He is anti-business.”

Buckley further explains that “there is a sense among companies that the U.S. is a difficult place to do business,” and “it is about regulation, taxation, seemingly anti-business policies in Washington, attitudes towards science.” He adds that “politicians forget that business has choice. We’re not indentured servants and we will do business where it’s good and friendly. If it’s hostile, incrementally, things will slip away. We’ve got a real choice between …

Read the rest of Richard Salsman’s article at his blog on Forbes:  Bravo For George Buckley, A Righteous CEO.

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Politics Webcast from an Objectivist Perspective: U.S. Religious Conservatives, Obamacare Litigation and The Joy of Islam

Here’s a link to the broadcast of Amy Peikoff’s Don’t Let It Go Unheard — webcast to talk on politics and politics from an Objectivist perspective. This is the best podcast on politics from an Objective perspective so it is definitely worth a listen if you could not attend the live broadcast.

Topics discussed: Why there haven’t yet been large-scale protests in Saudia Arabia; the proper foreign policy approach in the Middle East; a number of stories under the title, “The Joy of Islam”; the latest from religious conservatives in the U.S.; the latest on the Obamacare litigation, and the legislation’s prospects on appeal.

Not only does Amy have a great voice, she also has a clear mind. Enjoy!

Download Episode #3 and/or to register for next week’s live podcast.

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Muslim Apostate Comic Book Artist Bosch Fawstin on John Stewart’s Daily Show Tonight

 

Apostate, Cartoonist and author of The Infidel, Bosch Fawstin will be on John Stewart’s Daily Show Tonight. According to Bosh:

Hey everyone, for better or worse, my segment on THE DAILY SHOW will be airing TONIGHT, 11PM EST, and 11PM PST as well. Not sure when it airs in other time zones, check your local listings.

I hope you all got and enjoyed The Infidel #1, reader reaction has been as good as I could have hoped for. I have no idea what to expect from The Daily Show appearance, it was 3 hours of shooting, but I hope it’s funny and informative and lets the world know that some small corner of pop culture is taking on the bastards.

Best,
Bosch

Also, in case you have not read it check out his interview over at Capitalism Magazine: Art Against Jihad: An Interview with Bosch Fawstin Creator of The Infidel and Pigman

UPDATE: It appears that the Daily Show took a “liberal approach” top editing effectively changing answers to some questions posed to Bosch. Writes Bosch on his blog,  “I’ve now seen the segment and before they “edited” it, I actually answered, ‎“What’s wrong with Batman in WW2 recruiting a German Batman without any mention of Nazis?” when Asif asked me “What’s wrong with a Muslim Batman?”, and they did the same thing with some of my other “answers” [..] For my full account of what was left out of Baosch’s aired segment on The Daily Show, click here.”

UPDATE: You can see Bosch’s “edited” appearance here:

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Salsman: Unions and Government By Mob Rule

Richard Salsman writes in Forbes on Ochlocracy and the Menace of Government Unions:

A revealing chant can be heard from the mobs invading the state capital in Madison, Wis.: “This is what democracy looks like.” Indeed, the much-beloved “democracy” of our tumultuous times entails under-performing, over-paid state bureaucrats showering pet politicians with compulsory union dues and holding taxpayers hostage to their militant demands while the voices and votes of a handful of reasonable officeholders are nullified by others who flee the state to duck hard votes. Meanwhile, out-of state mobs of equally under-performing, over-paid bureaucrats are bused into the state, to intensify the intimidation. This is democracy — what Tocqueville called the “tyranny of the majority” and Hamilton called our “real disease.”

Technically, the demonstrations and work stoppages of state bureaucrats and the unjust laws supporting them illustrate how we’ve got an ochlocracy — government by mob rule, by the “will of the “people,” by intimidation and fueled by ignorant voters and unprincipled demagogues. Government teachers ensure that students (future voters) are illiterate and innumerate, while populist “leaders” appeal not to voters’ reason but to their passions. Sacrificed in an ochlocracy is respect for individual rights, constitutionalism, and the rule of law. Peaceful assembly, petition and persuasion are displaced by the scream, the curse, and the threat.

In a truly free country there is sanctity of contract, voluntary exchange and bargaining (whether individually or collectively), freedom of association and peaceful assembly, and the right to petition (lobby) the government for a redress of grievances. But that’s not really what’s at stake in Madison, or in the half-dozen other U.S. state capitals where a growing number of union-based mobs are accumulating while blocking streets and occupying buildings. In a free country voluntary private labor unions are perfectly fine — however misguided they may be in their Marxist-inspired perceptions of “exploitation” by “robber barons” — but no one and no group has any right whatsoever to compel others to deal with them. Compulsion can never be justified, rationalized, legitimized or legalized in any process of genuine dealing, exchanging or bargaining.

Yet for the past 75 years — since the Wagner Act was enacted in 1935 — U.S. federal law has compelled private companies to “deal” with militant unions and to satisfy their excessive, unaffordable demands. Thereafter, if union members chose to strike and leave their jobs, the law (and “law enforcement” officers) allowed such quitters to torment, intimidate and prevent other laborers from freely working in their place, and forbade firms from hiring eager replacements.

The Wagner Act — known as the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) — created a political panel, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to curb the rights of employers in bargaining with unions. Thus since 1935 the NLRB has repeatedly violated private firms’ bargaining rights, dictating to those on only one side of the “negotiating” table (firms) what are “fair” or “unfair” practices, and privileging the other side (unions), in violation of voluntary bargaining. The NLRB forces firms to “deal” with unions, allows forced membership (and dues) on workers who do not want to participate in a union, and prohibits companies from replacing or firing those who conspire to sabotage or undermine it from within.

The list is quite long of once-vibrant U.S. industries that have been inexorably drained and decimated by compulsory unionism since 1935…

Read the rest at his blog at Forbes.

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Yaron Brook – Tea Party Patriots American Policy Summit

Yaron Brook gives a rousing speech at the Tea Party Patriots American Policy Summit 2011 on 2/25/2011. His speech focuses on the idea that freedom lies in stresses a single, fundamental principle, the principle of individual rights, rather than vague terms such as fiscal responsibility (can be done through taxation) or limited government (can suggest democracy rather than a republic). An engaging speech which ended in an 1800 person standing ovation, the only one that night.

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