I Am One With Rogue One, Rogue One is With Me


Like many children of the early 70’s, STAR WARS was an indelible part of my views on, well, almost everything. I said as much in a letter George Lucas, penned circa 2005, in which I stated I had a clear vision for what might come next in the good versus evil, rebels versus empire, new agey Buddhist allegory mixed with Greek tragedy mixed with Germanic opera, and set in space. He politely declined to see me for that conversation, it was ambitious of me, but it was worth the try. The story has always been ambitious, and as the Star Wars films churned out over the decades have shown, there were times that the story itself may have been too “careful not to choke on it’s own aspirations.”

However, if rebellions are built on hope, are not epic, society shifting mythos built on aspirations?

Which leads me to ROGUE ONE, which, in my mind, is the most “honest” of all of the Star Wars canon, because, to me, the biggest problem with the Star Wars canon was that the Wars part of Star Wars was never too, um, warlike. Wars are not glamourous; they are not elegant; they are messy, they require sacrifice, they tear families apart and they bring political in-fighting, unforeseen conflicting agendas, senseless, indiscriminate death; and, they are horribly tragic.

Bringing the Wars back to Star Wars was the best thing for this franchise...

Bringing the Wars back to Star Wars was the best thing for this franchise…

ROGUE ONE, somehow, captured all of these somber truths, while reclaiming the inspirational Star Wars magic in a way that was not a bummer, and gave just the right amount of nods to the old fans, while it was it’s own story (something that FORCE AWAKENS failed to do in my opinion.) Let me be clear: there is still a good bit of plot pilfering going on. While FORCE AWAKENS was nearly beat-for-beat in line with A NEW HOPE, ROGUE ONE is almost too close to being beat-for-beat in line with RETURN OF THE JEDI.

But, thankfully, there’s enough that’s different here that ROGUE ONE, finally, is the story that adds depth to the mythology, and reminds me that the Star Wars canon isn’t stiff, lame, immature romantic melodrama.

(Eps 1-3 missed the mark by a mile and would’ve killed most other franchises.)

No. Just. No.

No. Just. No.

Let me start with the moment where I knew this film would be different than all other Star Wars films, in a good way. There was no need for a scrolling preamble – after “a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away” – this film cuts right to the chase, which was, this guy, Galen Erso, who’s some brilliant engineer (film might’ve been helped by showing this engineering brilliance early on, but, that’s a minor quibble) was coerced into leading a team of engineers to help build a Superweapon (the Death Star) for the Empire: his wife is murdered in front of him. He’s already made plans for his daughter to be hidden from the Empire, and he agrees to help, knowing that if he can control the work done, then maybe, maybe, he can plant a deficiency into the Death Star that can one day be exploited. (Though, how Darth Vader would not sense this is not addressed.)

His daughter, Jyn Erso, has a rough and tumble upbringing that we don’t really get to see. We open on Jyn in a prison, years later, and she’s busted out by rebel forces led by Captain Cassian Andor and his quasi-trusty, dry-witted, reprogrammed imperial droid, K2SO. As Andor busts her out, K2SO clotheslines her as she tries to escape her escape-helpers, and wryly comments: “Congratulations. You’re being rescued.”

As an aside, this tone of dark gallows humor mixed with seriousness is maintained throughout the film, with just the right amount of it peppered in. Combine that with the easter eggs galore in the film (one or two were a tad obvious) and it’s more than enough for a Star Wars geek to be engaged.

From there, we come to realize that the rebellion has fractured into factions, and that backstabbing in the Empire is a thing, especially when Galen Erso sends out word that the Death Star is almost done and there’s one way to defeat it. He gets the info out via a “defecting” Imperial pilot to an old trusted friend, Saw Gerrera, who abandoned his daughter Jyn, when it became clear that the Empire might use her against the rebellion.

Clearly, at this point, one can tell that this is not “blue sky” Star Wars.

Yes. Just. Yes.

Yes. Just. Yes.

Gerrera’s betrayal of Jyn makes Jyn skeptical about the rebellion, and humanity in general. It actually makes it plausible that she would keep her head down even if imperial flags fly above her and the Empire murdered her mother and commandeered her father.

Gerrera convinces Jyn to take up the cause of fighting the Empire when he shows her the message that her father wants to deliver to the rebellion, a father she’s not seen since she was a young girl. She trusts the message and when she tries to get others to trust her, as the messenger, this is where the film really hits a different level in Star Wars lore. Suddenly, her saviors become her potential enemies, her potential enemies become her friends, and the rebellion reveals itself to be more a pragmatic, yet ineffectual political organization than a group fighting for freedom.

When Jyn’s father is killed by the rebellion and her faith in Andor is shattered, Andor (and others) must accept and support the ultimate sacrifice, the same sacrifice Jyn is willing to make, in order for them to regain her trust and redeem themselves.

And it is an AWESOME moment when it happens.

When Jyn Erso's warnings are turned aside due to lack of political will, her team is formed, and this is one of the best moments in all Star Wars lore.

When Jyn Erso’s warnings are turned aside due to lack of political will, her team is formed, and this is one of the best moments in all of Star Wars lore.

And it has NOTHING to do with special effects.

The final sequence is spectacular, nothing short of breathtaking if you’re a Star Wars fan.

Prong 1 of Final Sequence: The Ground War.

Prong 1 of Final Sequence: The Ground War.

Prong 2: Infiltration of the Empire

Prong 2: Infiltration of the Empire

Prong 3: The Aerial Assault

Prong 3: The Aerial Assault

Prong 4: And Then... Vader Goes Vader

Prong 4: And Then… Vader Goes Vader

In the end, when you find out just how hard it was to steal those Death Star plans, how many died just to get them to Princess Leia, somehow, I think it gives A NEW HOPE the right context.

Now, is this a great movie? I don’t know.

Is this a great Star Wars movie? 100% absolutely yes.

My Letter To The Electoral College

Dear Elector,

My name is Jeff, I’m 43 years old and I live in Los Angeles, CA.

I would like to ask you to fulfill your role as an Elector, and dutifully not elect Donald J. Trump for the Presidency, for the reasons outlined below.

First and foremost, Mr. Trump, personally, has billions of dollars in debt to foreign interests, such as state-run Russian and Chinese banks.

Additionally, Mr. Trump has repeatedly stated that he does not intend to divest from his international businesses.

So, if chosen by the Electors, Mr. Trump’s Presidency will be under immediate constitutional challenge due to the Emolument Clause of the Constitution.

This will cause great stress, expense and undue harm to the American people, as lawsuits (due to the precedent of Clinton vs. Jones) will undoubtedly be filed against Mr. Trump.

I reiterate that you please keep in mind that Mr. Trump’s substantial indebtedness to foreign powers makes it reasonable to expect that Mr. Trump’s decisions will be effected due to these foreign debt overhangs. It is reasonable to suspect that his judgment could be effected due to these debts, and this would be detrimental to the interests of the United States of America.

As Electors, you are within your rights to call for Mr. Trump to clear his foreign debts and for him to divest from his international businesses.

And, if Mr. Trump complies with those caveats, then absolutely, as Electors, you should elect Mr. Trump as the 45th President of the United States as he has been awarded the most Electors within the Electoral College.

However, if Mr. Trump chooses to stay indebted to foreign powers and he chooses to keep his international business holdings, then I contend it is clear that he is more concerned with his personal interests than serving those of the American people in the Executive Branch. He would then be, henceforward, unelectable, due to provisions set forth in the Constitution of the United States.

Thank you for your time and consideration, I appreciate and respect the role you serve in our electoral process.


The Trumpenfuror: America Goes Gaga For Fascism

So here we are, 24 hours since some 120 million American people voted and, as can be viewed in my previous posts, my dire warnings notwithstanding, the Presidential Horserace finished with the result that I suspected since the conventions: Plantar Fascist was the winner over Hillarious by a neck.

Donald J. Trump, the up to his eyeballs in debt, “billionaire” income tax avoider, is now the 45th President of the United States of America.

Fear and loathing does not adequately describe the mood of the populace at this point in time. I’d say the more appropriate depiction is one of part desperation, part euphoria, part confusion, with some fear and loathing thrown in for good measure.

I do think that 11/9 will go down in history as a day to mark the cataclysmic shift to the “alt-right” which I think of as the “control-alt-delete” in that they want to turn off all progress, they want to shut down any sort of tolerance – they want to reboot by getting “their jobs” back, they want Mexicans and the Muslims out of America, they want to rub the elites’ and celebrities’ faces into the piss-soaked Nerf ball that is their dogma.

They want everybody who wasn’t a part of their redneck revolution to shit themselves instead of stand up to them when they commit acts of bigotry.

They want to live in some delusion of what they perceive the past was.

The alt-right is just American neo-nazis normalized, and these shitbags feel emboldened to physically confront anyone that they judge wasn’t a supporter of their leader, the Trumpenfuror, who refuses to condemn the attacks of the last 24 hours being levied in his name, nor does he condemn the KKK parades today celebrating his victory.

The first thing that must be understood here is, America has taken a turn toward the fascist. It doesn’t mean we’re all the way there yet, but the legal framework and foundation are set for political opponents to be incarcerated.

The second thing that must be understood here is, blame can be cast in a million directions, but whoever’s ultimately responsible is nearly irrelevant because our future is either 4 years under an insecure authoritarian; or, if he’s impeached, some portion of that under a truly skeevy reactionary who’s claim to fame is wanting to enact legislation forcing women who’ve had abortions to attend a “funeral” for the aborted fetus.

Wages have gone nowhere for 20 years. The one percent have gotten that much more one percenty, otherwise, the economy has pretty much sucked. Did Team HRC realize that when Lady Gaga and Jay Z were doing concerts at her rallies? Meanwhile, black people are getting gunned down by cops, some of them shot right in the back, and no one goes to jail when the courts hear the case. Citizens United makes the buying of candidates and bribery perfectly legal. The Patriot Act states that anyone ACCUSED of being a terrorist can be locked up, indefinitely, without access to an attorney, as an enemy combatant.

And now there’s a full-on candyass insecure narcissist who needs to be the lead of every single news cycle, who lives in a gold tower, who acts as if he’s going to help us all out by doing us the favor of being our President.

Believe him. He’s going to do great. Just ask him.

As Chuck D said, we gotta fight the powers that be.

However, if I act as an enemy combatant to all this WINNING, will it matter?

I guess it’s time to find out.

This Trump thing is mystery meat. The question is: is it turkey bologna? Filet mignon? Chicken sausage? Dried tiger blood sausage? Spam?

I think it’s moldy Mussolini-style mortadella, and I think we may get sick from it.

Good luck to us all.

Presidential Horserace Update: “Have You Ever Heard Such Innnocent Prattle?”

With roughly two weeks to go until the 45th President of the United States is voted for and Decision 2016 mercifully (hopefully) concludes on November 8, I would like to commit something to the record, for all posterity.

I voted for Hillary Clinton. Scratch that. I voted early for Hillary Clinton.


This election has gone completely sideways, but I voted, and I voted the only way my conscience could allow.

And the only reason I voted for her was because I felt a moral imperative to vote against Donald Trump.

Due to collusion by the Democratic National Committee, the Team Clinton campaign, and the mainstream media, I have left the Democratic Party and I will not rejoin it unless it is massively reformed.

Why? Because the ends do not always justify the means.

Even when a party and a candidacy must do battle with such societal symptoms as a cranky septuagenarian socialist or a would-be fascist narcissist chauvinist abuser looking to settle some scores, it does not give that party or candidacy free reign to do whatever it takes to cure those symptoms. Especially when the disease that brought about such symptoms was the loss of the public trust. Unfortunately, the DNC, HFA and the MSM exacerbated the spread of this disease. And the demonstrated lack of contrition about the wikileaks release of such documents showing this collusion, and then doubling down by blaming the Russians without documenting the proof, speaks to these people’s complete lack of responsibility, lack of self-respect, and lack of respect for voters.

As for the horserace, I’m concerned. With the revelation that Donald Trump (aka Plantar Fascist) may not recognize the election results as legitimate, regardless of the outcome, he may very well have ensured that there will be physical conflicts at polling stations around the nation on election day.

Worse, I think the media is vastly underselling Trump’s chances of victory, and the Clinton landslide narrative may keep potential anti-Trump voters away from the polls.

I fear for the future.

Perhaps, after 240 years as a nation, we are going to be forced to acknowledge that all of the inside baseball, the backroom deals, the legalized bribery, and the utter contempt for much of the citizenry has a downside.

Perhaps, after several decades, the corporatists war on the American people will finally bring us what they’ve always wanted: a “self-funded” dictator, something I’ve worried about becoming a reality since 1992.

Perhaps people are so divided due to technological buffers and constant bombardment of messaging that we can no longer communicate ideas effectively. I learned this firsthand when, after the first general election debate, I was critical of both candidates, only to be labeled as a sexist by facebook friends for speaking ill of Bill and Hill.

If you think Team Clinton hasn’t been warned that the general electorate isn’t on their side, the brand strategists say otherwise:



I know that’s fuzzy and difficult to read document. Email me if you want to see it more clearly. In a nutshell, this document says that this election is going to be close.

According to Hillary Clinton’s brand manager Benenson Strategy Group, she is favorably viewed by “12% of non-partisan voters”. That’s horrendous.

Even more chilling are the last two sentences:

“On a disturbing note, some 70% of Republican-leaning voters are aware of bussed-in voting, false-face operations, and dead-man’s party registration drives. This may necessitate severe strategy changes for November.”

  • Above Photo/Quotation are from a Benenson Strategy Group “Salvage Program” communication that was published over Twitter, re: telephone polling that BSG conducted on October 10-13, 2016.

The media narrative is that a Clinton victory is a near certainty.

My narrative is this: Trump can win if he takes all the usual Republican strongholds and then runs the table of:

Iowa, Ohio, North Carolina, Florida, Nevada, Colorado.

Is that so far fetched? We shall see.

Trump campaigned in Pennsylvania and Virginia today. Clinton campaigned in Pennsylvania today.

This is not what should be happening if Clinton is on the way to a landslide.

In Hans Christian Anderson’s folktale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” what is always remembered is that a child points out, contrary to an agreed upon “reality,” that the Emperor, in fact, has nothing on.

What is often forgotten is that immediately after that, the boy’s father states, “Have you ever heard such innocent prattle?” and while the crowd ultimately feels emboldened enough to agree with the child, the Emperor shivers, suspects that the people are right about his apparel, but continues with the procession, more proudly than before, and noblemen hold his fake train higher than before.

This election, like this story, is the ultimate expose on the illusion of nobility and it has shined a light on the lunacy of groupthink.

That said, any modern version of the story would now absolutely need to include the part where the Emperor returns to his castle, and he has a strategy meeting with his noblemen, who immediately go about smearing the boy as delusional and label the boy’s family as perverted.